The admirers of rough Scandinavian detective films will be pleased by the news that the 6th year of Noir Film Festival, once again held at the royal Křivoklát Castle, will bring several dark stories from the production of Northern Europe countries in its program. The festival, now in preparation, will open its gates to the fans of the „black cinema” in the second half of August, namely from Thursday 23th to Sunday 26th August.
Nordic noir films and gloomy prison dramas
Festival visitors can look forward to real gems: programmers Jana Bébarová and Milan Hain added films to the NORDIC NOIR section that are unknown to the Czech viewers. In these 1940s and 50s productions from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, the viewers can see remarkable parallels with the contemporary Hollywood noirs and discover more or less apparent influences of the iconic films of the American cinema.
The next program section of the 6th year is concentrated on PRISON NOIR. The section will introduce one of the films of the distinctive film noir director Jules Dassin, whose legacy the film festival had commemorated in the past, namely by Night and the City (1950) and Rififi (1955). This year it will be his earlier film Brute Force (1947), which had been a significant landmark in the director’s career, because it was his first cooperation with an influential producer Mark Hellinger and his new acting discovery Burt Lancaster. Dassin’s prison drama excels with a stark social commentary and it can be viewed as a rough allegory of the Nazi regime through the character of a sadistic warden Munsey (played by the great Hume Cronyn).
A thrilling drama shot in the real prison locations will be offered in Riot Cell Block 11 (1954), for which director Don Siegel had engaged several unprofessional actors. These two masculine titles will have their counterpart in the dark female noir film Caged (1950), in which Eleanor Parker excels in one of her lifetime roles awarded at the Venice Film Festival. She plays a convict – victim, who is going through a fundamental change of character in the unrelenting environment of a jail. Similar emotional urgency is to be seen in the drama I Want to Live! (1958), in which Susan Hayward had played her Oscar role.
A tribute to the noir film stars
The acting icons of Classic Hollywood, which will be paid a tribute to this year by naming the festival’s main projection halls after them, will be actress and director Ida Lupino (1918–1995), who would have been 100 years old this year, and actor Robert Ryan (1909–1973). While you can remember Ida Lupino from Raoul Walsh’s They Drive by Night (1940) and High Sierra (1941), in which she had appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart, Robert Ryan is connected to a type of rude men with decided, xenophobic opinions and violent behavior.
Hynek Bočan celebrating his jubilee
Within the Czech “mark” the festival will commemorate the work of Hynek Bočan, who is going to celebrate his 80th birthday in April. The director, one of the patrons of the festival, visited Křivoklát in 2015 and 2017, as he was introducing a screening of a Czechoslovak-British film Třicet jedna ve stínu (Ninety Degrees in the Shade, 1965), on which he had worked as an assistant director to Jiří Weiss. He had significantly contributed to the Golden 60s of the Czechoslovak cinema with works like Nikdo se nebude smát (Nobody Will Laugh, 1965), a black comedy based on Milan Kundera’s novel, a film adaptation of Vladimír Páral’s novel Soukromá vichřice (Private Torment, 1967) or two films from 1968 that had been banned by the Communist party, Čest a sláva (Honour and Glory), a historical drama from the Thirty Years’ War, and Pasťák (The Borstal), situated in a Prague youth detention center. You can experience the rawness and rough claustrophobic atmosphere, which is close to the prison noir films introduced on the festival, at a special screening.
Křivoklát Castle Noir
This year the festival visitors are going to enjoy the screenings in five historical halls (for example in the Gothic Royal Hall and in the private chamber of Wenceslaus IV) and in Castle’s Upper Courtyard, where the main evening screenings take place. By popular demand, we negotiated the extension of these stylish screenings to another place – the northeastern walls.
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