Telluride Film Festival Cinematique at Library September 28

Telluride Film Festival Cinematique at Library September 28

[click “Play” to hear Seth Cagin speak about film noir]


Telluride Film Festival Cinematique, a collaboration between the Wilkinson Public Library and the Telluride Film Festival, is a film club catering to local cineastes, who want After-the-Festival to last year ’round. Each of the four-film series develops a theme. Last season’s hot button was the French New Wave of Varda, Truffaut, Godard, and Chabrol. This season, the subject is film noir.

What is this thing called film noir? We all understand the word “film.” Film is, according to Orson Welles, nothing more than “a ribbon of dreams.” The word “noir” is French for “black.” The defining characteristic of these “dark films” is fatalism and alienation, shady motives, and bleak prospects: one false move and you’re out. Predatory “femmes fatales” populate this bleak landscape, sirens who lure hapless heroes into the world of illicit desires.

The series opener is a double bill: director Nicholas Ray’s “In A Lonely Place” and a documentary, “Film Noir – Bringing Darkness to Light.” (Monday, September 28, 5:30 pm)

Coincidentally, Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library is hosting a screenwriter’s conference, and “In A Lonely Place” features a hothead Hollywood screenwriter, Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart).

Just when Steele (Humphrey Bogart) begins a romance with his neighbor Laurel Gray (Gloria Graham), the police begin to suspect him of murdering a hat-check girl named Mildred, whom he only knew briefly. Laurel believes in Dixon’s innocence, but his alibi doesn’t wash. As the cops turn up the heat, Steele’s new relationship cools. Steele’s reputation for belligerence and macabre sense of humor don’t help matters much. Gray soon begins to suspect the police may be right after all. The Nicholas Ray classic showcases an uncharacteristically vulnerable Bogart. The surprise ending is one of the most tragic in cinema history. (Monday, September 28, 6:00 pm)

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