Classic detective stories will light up the halls of the historic Český Šternberk Castle this weekend during the Noir Film Festival, which brings classic and contemporary film noir to a new location for 2021. Previous editions of the festival have taken place at Křivoklát Castle; both locations are about an hour outside Prague.
This year’s festival officially kicks off on Wednesday, August 18 with a screening of the 1947 classic Crossfire, directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Robert Ryan and Robert Mitchum, at 16:00. Later in the evening, a screening of the Nicholas Ray classic On Dangerous Ground, starring Ryan and Ida Lupino, will take place in the Český Šternberk Castle courtyard.
This year’s Noir Film Festival will run through Sunday, August 22. Films screened include a variety of classic Hollywood pictures, Czechoslovak features, and a special section dedicated to Bollywood film noir.
“Indian popular cinema has never been as ideologically subversive as American noir, but even so, Bollywood films of the classic period cover a multitude of genre positions, and among the titles from the 1950s and 60s that will be the focus of our selection, many fabrics with crime, gothic or horror themes can be found,” Noir Film Festival programmer Milan Hain says about the Bollywood Noir section.
“The setting of a medieval castle, for example, perfectly underlines the intense ghostly atmosphere of The Fog (Kohraa), which is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel The Dead and the Living, whose more famous film version by Alfred Hitchcock we screened two years ago.”
In addition to previously announced sections, another is dedicated to the work of filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, who have memorably referenced film noir tropes in some of their most acclaimed films. The Coen Brothers’ debut feature Blood Simple, will be screened, along with the Oscar-nominated Fargo, Miller’s Crossing, and the black & white The Man Who Wasn’t There.
Another special section at this year’s Noir Film Festival will feature classic Hollywood films that tackle social issues which are still relevant today.
“This year’s edition will be marked by socially engaged films, starting with five Hollywood films from the late 1940s and early 1950s from the main program section Noir Without Prejudice, reflecting the pressing issues of racism and xenophobia that plague American society,” says programmer Jana Bébarová.
“The plight of war veterans will be viewed from several angles in the program section Amnesiac Noir, while the bigamy, coping with physical disabilities, the plight of unwed single mothers or the empty lives of frustrated housewives in a seemingly idyllic American suburb, the dramas made at the same time by the actress Ida Lupino, whose directorial work will be the subject of a retrospective section, will be told for a change.”