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Echoes of the Noir Film Festival 2021

Echoes of the Noir Film Festival 2021

25. - 27.11.

This year, Kino Lucerna is also preparing a three-day Echoes of the 9th Noir Film Festival. From Thursday 25 November to Saturday 27 November, five films selected across all programme sections of this year's Noir Film Festival will be on view. In the main thematic section, Noir Without Prejudice, you can look forward to Storm Warning (1951), set in a small town in the American South plagued by xenophobia and pervasive fear, where the Ku-Klux-Klan rules with a heavy hand. Amnesiac Noir will be represented by a Chandlerian, enigmatic tale of chance encounters called Somewhere in the Night (1946),and the Special Screening selection is the noir The Enforcer (1951), starring Humphrey Bogart as a prosecutor on the trail of a mob boss. From the Coen Brothers' Retrospective we will see the stylistically precise The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) and the Czechoslovakian representative will be Vertigo (1962), about a young girl's disturbing relationship with an older man, the result of a creative collaboration between director Karel Kachyňa and screenwriter Jan Procházka. 

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Somewhere in the Night

One of two films by Joseph L. Mankiewicz selected for this year’s festival shows the Chandler-like knotted and enigmatic story intertwined with accidental encounters and minor characters jumping in and out of the narrative. A fast-paced plot with quick dialogues delivered in a playful language requires an attentive viewer who is in turn rewarded by funny intertextual references. The male protagonist without a past, portrayed by the charismatic John Hodiak in his first starring role (he passed away nine years later, at the age of 41, from a heart attack), is an original variation on several noir archetypes – the war veteran, the fugitive and the PI. The subjectivity of the narrative keeps even the basic information away from the viewer. Teamed-up with the hazy-minded protagonist, it lets them grope in the dark, face the fear of the unknown and experience the omnipresent angst and paranoia. Show more

2D CS 15
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The Man Who Wasn’t There

Like Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn’t There carries the traces of the novels of James M. Cain, an author who was interested not in underworld criminals but in ordinary people with ordinary jobs and their domestic melod-ramas that turn into crime stories through chance encounters. Such is the case with a taciturn, boring barber (Billy Bob Thornton) whose desire for the American Dream results in crime and who, ironically, is tried for so-mething he didn’t do. In addition to literary sources and classic film noirs (the distinctive black-and-white styli-zation, the protagonist’s voiceover), the Coens reference Hitchcock’s film Shadow of a Doubt (1943) through the setting (Santa Rosa) and early 1950s science fiction films through the evocation of the mindset of the inhabitants of American suburbia in the post-war period (assumed war heroism, existential angst, the threat of atomic war, fear of invasion from outer space). Show more

2D CS 15
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NFF21: The Enforcer

District attorney Martin Ferguson (Humphrey Bogart) has a clearly defined deadline at the beginning of the story – on the eve of the trial of mob boss Albert Mendoza (Everett Sloane), he loses his crown witness (Ted De Corsia) and has to secure a new one by the morning. His repeatedly going through the interrogation tapes, which are layered into a series of flashbacks in the narrative, is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. The protagonist's efforts to find connections in a series of seemingly unrelated murders, to uncover the links between individual criminals and to untangle the web of organized crime share parallels with the ingenious sleuthing of private de-tectives Sam Spade and Phil Marlowe, to whom the famous actor lent his iconic face. The film was inspired by a real-life case investigating a group of hit men referred to in the period press as “Murder, Inc.” and impresses with its use of criminal slang. Show more

2D CS 15
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Vertigo

The cooperation of director Karel Kachyňa and screenwriter Jan Procházka brought us several great films such as A Carriage Going to Vienna (1966) and The Ear (1969, premiered in 1990). The unfairly overlooked Vertigo is worthy of watching for a number of reasons, be it the acting performance of fresh talents, music or camerawork. The 17-year-old Božka lives with her father in the Ore Mountains and helps him out in a small hotel accommodating mi-ners looking for tin ore. A strange yet unexpressed attraction is budding between the bright and cheeky Božka and the experienced driver Gába. The film is full of dizziness (as its title suggests) in the form of sophisticated visual compositions enhanced by the widescreen for-mat. Together with Trials and Tribulations (1961) and The High Wall (1963), it forms a loose trilogy of films connected with the theme of coming of age and emotional outbursts of the female protagonists. Show more

2D ES 15
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Storm Warning

In 1951, Hollywood musical and romantic comedy star, actress, dancer and singer Ginger Rogers and her eleven years younger colleague Doris Day appeared as sisters in the socially committed Warner Bros. Storm Warning, a brainchild of producer Jerry Wald, who wanted to make a film with a deeper socio-political message in the style of Dmytryk's Crossfire. He thus set the story of the pair of women in a small town in the American South, pla-gued by xenophobia and pervasive fear, where the Ku-Klux-Klan rules with a heavy hand. A local prosecutor with the face of future US President Ronald Reagan fiercely fights back against a fanatical mob of old-timers like a lone cowboy. The thick atmosphere of hatred, manipulation and rape culture escalates into a frustrating climax that seems to take us back to the Middle Ages. Show more

2D CS 15
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