Belcourt Theatre is kicking off 2020 with a question. What is noir? Sweat on the brow of a hardened criminal cornered by the law? The plodding of desperate feet against wet concrete? A sliver of light splashed across the faces of two star-crossed lovers engaged in a final embrace? The two-faced dame holding a smoking gun just as easily as she holds the cigarette between her lips? Well sure, it’s all of these things, but it’s also so much more.
Noir Fest’s previous iterations at the Belcourt (in 2008 and 2011) centered on cornerstones of the genre from America, France, and England. While this latest installment features a number of familiar titles, the thrust of the series is towards the more granular, je ne sais quoi qualities of the genre. Focusing on the darkness of tone, the shattered mirror of post-war America reflecting on itself, and illuminating the moral complexities of new wars at home, some of these films might not immediately look the part, but they most certainly feel it.
Featuring 10 pairings throughout January and early February, the Belcourt shines a Venetian-blinded spotlight on this dynamic, modern and groundbreaking genre whose ripples can be felt throughout cinema to this day. Belcourt will also be hosting an introductory seminar on the stylistic and tonal foundations of noir, as well as a deeper dive into the genre, along with a number of film introductions to help make sense of it all.