.Happy New Noir

Noir City 6 words up at the Castro; cool times at the PFA.

In Noir City, writers are finally emerging from the shadows. Eddie Muller’s annual film noir festival, Noir City 6, has an unmistakable literary tinge this year. New York author/editor Megan Abbott presents her short story collection, A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Film Noir, January 26 at the festival. Then on January 30, Los Angeles’ Alan Rode signs copies of his book on one of the genre’s most durable character actors, Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy. Also January 26, novelist James Ellroy returns to Noir City to introduce a screening of Joseph Losey’s 1951 The Prowler — reportedly his favorite film. Why the bookish tilt? Alameda author/showman Muller, the Nabob of Noir, thinks it’s time the writers got their due. “That’s the direction I’m heading with noir,” said Muller on the phone, “recognizing the contribution of writers. All of this starts with a story. It’s storytelling. You cannot separate the work of these writers from the rest of the production team.” Coincidentally, Muller’s very own film noir, The Grand Inquisitor, a new twenty-minute narrative short featuring veteran actress Marsha Hunt (Raw Deal), receives its world premiere as well, with Ms. Hunt in attendance. Lots more urban-angst treats in the fest, which opens Friday, January 25 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre with a double feature of Repeat Performance (starring Joan Leslie, who appears in person) and Vincent Sherman’s The Hard Way. NoirCity.com

Baby, it’s cool inside: The Pacific Film Archive investigates the relationship between jazz music and cinematic inspiration with a succinct nine-title retrospective of dramas about musicians, Cool World: Jazz and the Movies — featuring the ultra-sophisticated sounds of Elmer Bernstein (The Man with the Golden Arm); Jackie McLean (Shirley Clarke’s The Connection); Shelly Manne, Red Mitchell, and Benny Carter (Too Late Blues); and singer/saxophonist Louis Jordan (Beware), among others. The series starts Saturday, January 12 at the PFA.BAMPFA.berkeley.edu Kelly Vance


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