FESTIVALS / AWARDS Czech Republic
Czechoslovak noir meets Spanish noir and David Fincher at the 10th Noir Film Festival
- In addition to bringing classics of the genre to the big screen, Český Šternberk's annual celebration showcases new works inspired by film noir
The 10th edition of the annual genre-themed Czech gathering Noir Film Fest, held at a mid-13th century castle of Český Šternberk, will focus on Spanish and Czechoslovak noir films. While the genre has been widely popularised in American cinema, the festival programmers take a tour through different national cinemas spotlighting noir films. After the Bollywood detour of the previous edition, they are returning to Europe. The special section dedicated to Spanish noir will screen the well-known Death of a Cyclist (1955), directed by Juan Antonio Bardem, along with lesser exposed titles such as 1969’s Ditirambo, which stars film director Gonzalo Suárez in the leading role of a journalist hired by a wealthy widow to exact revenge on her late husband’s former lover. The roster of Spanish noir films also includes José Antonio Conde’s Red Fish (1955), Francisco Rovira Beleta's 1956 heist film Express Train from Andalucía, and Antonio Santillán’s The Glass Eye (1956), adapted from a story by American writer Cornel Woolrich.
In keeping with the festival's tradition, the line-up features domestic films inspired by film noir. The quintuple of Czechoslovak noir includes 1946’s A Dead Man Among the Living by Bořivoj Zeman, 1959’s Awakening by Jiří Křejčík, 1962’s The Boxer and Death directed by Peter Solan, 1921’s The Poisoned Light directed by Jan S. Kolár and Karel Lamač, and 1957’s The Wolf Trap by Jiří Weiss. Special Screenings will include two more recent titles in an episodic format. “I am extremely pleased that we can present the Czech TV miniseries Iveta, directed by Michal Samir, about the beginnings of the star career of Czech singer Iveta Bartošová and her colleague Petr Sepeši. A femme fatale, an homme fatal, a fateful meeting, star image and impressive visuals are typical noir aspects, so this series definitely belongs in our festival program,” said Jana Bébarová about the selection. “The mission of our festival is to highlight the diversity of the noir phenomenon and to appreciate underrated titles, which I think Iveta is,” she adds. The other miniseries is the crime series Redl, which follows military prosecutor Roman Rédl in early 90s Czechoslovakia as he cracks a case of organised crime tied to fleeing the Soviet army. The series is Czech Television’s answer to quality TV, directed by Jan Hřebejk (The Teacher [+see also:
interview: Jan Hřebejk
film profile]) and written by rising Slovak talent Miro Šifra, who penned the scripts for awaited domestic projects Dawn (read the news) and The Attachment Theory (read the news) among others.
The main thematic section of this year’s edition, titled Blacklisted, will focus on prominent Hollywood figures whose voices were silenced with the advent of the blacklist in the late 40s and early 50s. The section will screen, among others, Abraham Polonsky’s Force of Evil (1948), Jules Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway (1949), and John Berry’s 1951 film He Ran All the Way. In addition to classic noir films, the festival programmers have also prepared a focus on a modern incarnation of the genre, namely the cinema of David Fincher. The retrospective Dark Visions of David Fincher will include the filmmaker’s influential works Fight Club, Gone Girl, Se7en, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [+see also:
film profile], and Zodiac.
The 10th edition of Noir Film Fest will take place from 17 to 21 August at Šternberk Castle, in the Czech Republic. The full programme is available here.
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