Dear JFI Friends and Family,
Times of struggle can often lead to the creation of groundbreaking art. In the chaos and darkness that shrouded the world like a thick fog during World War II, a new kind of filmic storytelling emerged: Film Noir. Traditionally filmed in black and white with stark high-contrast lighting, these hard hitting, hard boiled, crime and detective tales emphasized the cynical attitudes and sexual motivations felt during the war and following its aftermath.
This new era of Hollywood noir filmmaking was often created by European emigre directors, many of them Jewish, who fled Nazi persecution. Though the characters could be jaded and the philosophy a bit existential, film noir still offered an escape to a shadowy underworld where anything could happen.
In this week’s Cinegogue Sessions, we offer you a passport to escapism with three highly innovative and stylish modern takes on the noir genre set abroad before, during, and after the second world war. We hope you enjoy Noir: The Shadows of WWII.
Until next week.
Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director
Joshua Moore, Programmer
Margherita Ghetti, Next Wave Programmer
Start your session with some classic Kirk Douglas (SFJFF31 Freedom of Expression Award Winner!)
Budapest Noir (SFJFF38)
Budapest, 1936. Zsigmond Gordon is a crime reporter cut from classic film noir cloth. He takes a cynical view of politics, including the sudden death of the Hungarian prime minister, whose fondness for Adolph Hitler has inspired Hungary’s fascists. It’s a chance meeting with an alluring woman, however, that really triggers Gordon’s curiosity, especially when she later turns up murdered, a Jewish prayer her only possession. Sniffing a human interest story (he’s more ambitious than altruistic), Gordon sets out to learn her identity and transform her death from back-page filler to front-page news. Adapted by Éva Gárdos from the popular Hungarian bestseller, Budapest Noir (SFJFF 2018) exploits the echoes of classic hardboiled detective fiction to probe the specifics of Hungarian national identity and tells a timeless tale of soul corruption.
After the film, check out this great Q&A with Éva Gárdos and the Czar of Noir, Eddie Mueller at SFJFF38!
Visually stunning, the Czech thriller Protektor (SFJFF 2010) unfolds in Prague, 1938. Life is about to turn upside down as Germany prepares to occupy Czechoslovakia and the love between a husband and wife is put to the ultimate test. Emil, a radio reporter, is increasingly jealous of his wife Hana’s new success as an actress and her new circle of male friends. However, when German forces arrive, Emil suddenly faces an irresistible offer from his National Socialist employer: His boss will pretend he doesn’t know Emil’s wife is Jewish as long as Emil accepts a promotion to become the on-air voice of the Nazi propaganda.
Incognito (NOV 2016 Online Short)
In the cinematic and noir-ish short Incognito (JFI Online Shorts), two mysterious men meet for coffee in a Buenos Aires cafe in 1960. Based closely on truth, their dark secret and their identities are slowly revealed.