Thursday, January 31, 2008

Noir City Film Festival

Tonight I headed to the historic Castro Theater to take in a double feature on night 7 of the San Francisco Film Noir Festival. To get in the spirit and prepare for maximum noir enjoyment, I donned my blue full length cashmere winter coat and newly purchased grey fedora. Since my film knowledge is really quite pathetic, one of the things I hope to learn a lot more about this year is classic cinema, which of course would include film noir of the late 1940's and '50s.

The theme for tonight was films shot in San Francisco. D.O.A., the evening's first screening, is the tale of a man who travels to San Francisco to enjoy a big city vacation, only to discover that a letter of purchase that he notarized would cause him terrible misfortune, and ultimately lead to his death. The film's opening scene, where protagonist Mr. Bigelow goes to the police office to report his own murder, is one of the more unusual opening sequences I have seen in an older film. Classic. Molly X, the second film, is an obscure movie which tells the story of a woman who plans a botched robbery, and as a result has to do time in a women's correctional facility. She also has apparently murdered one of her partners in crime, though she is not tried for murder, and she has to struggle with this throughout the movie as well. Not as impressive, though it delivered some great snappy one liners, which are all the more appreciated when heard in a packed theater of folks who appreciate the corniness inherent in film noir.

After watching both movies, my date and I headed out the side entrance off the upper level section of the Castro Theater. The stairwell leads to a dark, narrow path, with piles of heavy cables strewn along the walls, probably from the filming of Gus Van Sant's new movie 'Milk.' We exited out the wrought iron gate and headed out into the misty San Francisco night. It was very noir.