Saturday, January 2, 2010

French Kisses: Nouvelle Vague and Reel Criminals: The Heist

In January, the Mechanics' Institute is screening a series call French Kisses: Nouvelle Vague as part of their CinemaLit program. Nouvelle Vague mean New Wave.

The series looks promising.

Friday, January 8
Les Bonnes Femmes (1960) 93 min.
Directed by Claude Chabrol; Starring Bernadette Lafonte, Stephane Audran
Four vibrant Parisian shop-girls harbor secret and not-too-secret dreams.

Friday, January 15
Paris Vu Par...(Six in Paris) (1965) 92 min.
Directed by Jean Rouch, Jean Douchet, Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Daniel Pollet; Starring Stephane Audran, Jean-Pierre Andreani
An eclectic anthology of short films by leading directors, each set in a different Paris neighborhood.

Friday, January 22
Lola (1962) 90 min.
Special guest: Anita Monga, artistic director of the Silent Film Festival
Directed by Jacques Demy; Starring Anouk Aimee, Marc Michel
This lovely, lyrical romantic tale, full of homages to America and American movies, centers on a caberet dancer in Nantes.

Friday, January 29
The Bride Wore Black (1968) 107 min.
Directed by Francois Truffaut; Starring Jeanne Moreau, Michel Bouquet
A widow pursues revenge against her husband's murderers in this Hitchcock homage featuring a scene by Bernard Herrmann.

All the films start at 6 PM and are followed by "a salon style discussion."


Anita Monga's presence on January 22 reminds me that the San Francisco Silent Film Festival has announced that its 2010 festival will be July 15—18, 2010. They have added a fourth day to the festival. The festival usually runs Friday to Sunday but this year will run Thursday to Sunday.

I was not able to attend the festival's winter event on December 12. I would have liked to have seen West of Zanzibar (1928) starring Lon Chaney and directed by Tod Browning. The rain and a program at PFA kept me away. I ended up watching The Man with the Golden Arm instead.


The Mechanics' Institute's February CinemaLit series is called Reel Criminals: The Heist. The series also appeals to me. The Asphalt Jungle is screening in January at Noir City on January 24.

I recall seeing parts of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three on television. The original was R rated so I probably watched edited versions on television.

I can't recall the last time I saw The Great Train Robbery; it must have been as a child on television. I recall enjoying it.

I've never been a big fan of A Fish Called Wanda.

Friday, February 5
The Asphalt Jungle (1950) 112 min.
Directed by John Huston; Starring Sterling Hayden, James Whitmore
From assembling the gang through pulling the job, this hard-boiled flick laid the foundation for an entire genre.

Friday, February 12
The Great Train Robbery (1979) 111 min.
Directed by Michael Crichton; Starring Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland
A wily, witty threesome schemes to steal a gold shipment from a moving train in mid-Victorian England.

Friday, February 19
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) 104 min.
Directed by Joseph Sargent; Starring Robert Shaw, Walter Matthau
A ruthless gang hijacks a subway train in gritty '70s New York, and the tension just keeps building.

Friday, February 26
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) 108 min.
Directed by Charles Crichton; Starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis
Dishonor among thieves propels this London-set caper comedy co-starring Kevin Kline and Michael Palin.


Noir City runs from January 22 to January 31 at the Castro Theater. By my count, I've seen 6 of the films in recent years on the big screen. I've also seen 4 of them on television years ago. So I've seen 10 of the 24 films they are screening. I may have to miss the matinee screening on January 23 due to other commitments.

Despite these impediments, I'll likely purchase a festival pass.

2010 Noir City Festival Poster

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