Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $7
Monday, September 4 @ 7:00 PM
Directed by Alain Corneau • 1979
In French with English subtitles
What do you get when French avant-garde novelist Georges Perec (La disparition, a 300-page book without the letter ‘e’) adapts a work of red-blooded American crime literature like Jim Thompson’s A Hell of a Woman? From one angle Alain Corneau’s Série noire, named for an infamous series of French paperback pulps, is simply an exemplary neo-noir — but that’s almost too timid. With its archetypally spare characters cruising through a brutalist concrete landscape, this movie is proudly post-noir, post-punk, post-everything. Patrick Dewære (Hôtel des Amériques, Préparez vos mouchoirs) stars as hapless door-to-door salesman Franck Poupart, just the type of schmuck to be drawn into a murder plot by an old widow’s mute niece (Marie Trintignant). “Without a second thought,” writes Pacific Film Archive curator emeritus Steve Seid, “you buy his worn-out, deranged lowlife toying with oblivion.” In an era when classic American crime fiction was being re-interpreted as a haven for ex-hippies and burnt-out head shop denizens, this Transatlantic translation is surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the original. (KW)
111 min • Prospectacle/Gaumont • 35mm from Institut français, Permission Rialto Pictures
Special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York
Preceded by: Trailer Reel: ’70s Neo-Noir and Not-Noir
But that’s not all!
The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2
Wednesday, September 6 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1956
Robert Aldrich’s iconic noir Kiss Me Deadly ends with an atomic detonation, so it’s only appropriate that his masterfully stark follow-up, Autumn Leaves, feels chilly as nuclear winter. Los Angeles has never looked so empty on screen, a succession of sad little bungalows and grocery stores inhabited by damaged people like Joan Crawford’s spinster stenographer Milly Weatherby, who counts her landlady (Ruth Donnelly) as her only friend. So Milly is especially vulnerable when Burt (Cliff Robertson), a smooth-talking young man with a defensive cloak of overconfidence, shares a booth with her at their local watering hole one night. Milly urges Burt to pursue women closer to his own age, but within a month the puppy dog is back on bended knee. Is her sensitive boy a cynical con artist, a heaven-sent lover, a deeply traumatized soul, or some combination of the three? Lurid but never without emotional nuance, Autumn Leaves offers Crawford the finest role of her career. After so many grandiloquent movies that treat Crawford’s everyday travails as world-historic catastrophes, Autumn Leaves plays like a bucket of cold water, a weepie thoroughly grounded in the loneliness of working class life. (KW)
107 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: Mr. Magoo in “Destination Magoo” (Pete Burness, 1954) – 35mm IB Tech – 7 min
Introduced by Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader and Cine-File Chicago contributor
And check out the rest of the season here.