After a debut festival at Kokořín and seven following years at Křivoklát, the ninth edition of the Czech Republic’s Noir Film Festival has found a new home: the 2021 edition of the fest will take place at Český Šternberk Castle, about an hour southeast of Prague.
This year’s Noir Film Festival will be held at the grounds of the spacious Czech castle above the town of Český Šternberk from August 18-22. The new venue has also allowed for an expanded program and additional open-air screenings in the Castle courtyard, a favorite feature of previous festivals.
“With a new venue, we decided to adjust the screening times as well,” festival director Vít Grigartzik states in a press release.
“Starting on Wednesday, we will add one extra day to the program. Visitors can enjoy four open-air evening screenings at the courtyard, which are traditionally program highlights.”
This year’s Noir Film Festival will feature two tribute sections, to golden age Hollywood stars Bette Davis (pictured above) and Victor Mature. 1941’s I Wake Up Screaming, starring Mature, and 1949’s Beyond the Forest, with Davis, will feature among the screenings at this year’s festival.
“Bette Davis is known for playing wicked, sarcastic, and more often than not narcissistic women that spit venom and throw around death stares,” says festival dramaturge Jana Bébarová.
“The opposite is true for her colleague, Victor Mature, whom the newspapers of his time glorified as a “beautiful hunk of man”. He serves as a wonderful example of the fact that being fiercely attractive can have its downsides and be rather limiting.”
An additional tribute section at this year’s Noir Film Festival will include a retrospective on actress and director Ida Lupino, and include a screening of 1953’s The Hitch-Hiker (1953), one of the only classic film noir features directed by a woman.
Continuing a theme of exploring film noir outside the familiar Hollywood setting, this year’s Noir Film Fest will also feature a section dedicated to Bollywood noir. Films screening in this section include 1964’s Kohraa (The Fog), a thriller loosely adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
The main section of the 2021 Noir Film Festival will be Noir Without Prejudice, and focus on classic features that examine issues of racism. Films screened in this section will include Crossfire, one of the first Hollywood features to tackle themes of anti-semitism, No Way Out, the debut film of actor Sidney Poitier, and Storm Warning, a Ku Klux Klan drama featuring a young Ronald Reagan.
“The burning issue of racial and ethnic animosity, which sprung up after last year’s controversial and spotlighted events connected with the Black Lives Matter movement and which proved to be still relevant nowadays, had begun to rear its head in mainstream Hollywood films after WWII,” says Bébarová.
“Our film selection from the turn of the 1950s wants to show that in order to become a pariah in noir stories, one did not necessarily have to be a criminal or a victim of amour fou, it was enough just to be ‘different‘.”
A full program for this year’s festival will be made available on June 18.