dir. Jules Dassin | 115 min | French with English subtitles
A world-wide smash, Rififi is widely considered the trailblazer of the action-heist genre. It raised eyebrows for its controversial gunplay, raunchy dress, and dope use, which culminated in a condemnation by the American Legion of Decency and a blacklisting of the director. This existential thriller earned Dassin Cannes’ Best Director prize, set the standard for screen robberies for decades to come, and now provides an invaluable time capsule of Paris in the 50s.
Blacklisted in Hollywood, the talented Jules Dassin (The Naked City, Brute Force) moved to Europe, where he directed Rififi, a black, disturbing film with an extended, nearly silent heist segment lasting 35 minutes. The pacing is assured, the tension palpable. Jean Servais does a fine turn as grim-faced, gang-leader Tony. Inevitably, loose lips derail the crime, and rival criminals enter the scene. The criminal clans clash, and the body count grows. In the midst of the crime and carnage, Dasin lingers on the marginalized and abused girlfriends and wives, undercutting concepts of criminal nobility. Dassin seals the movie’s greatness with Tony’s final sojourn. Bleeding profusely, he drives his rescued 5-year-old nephew home through the streets of Paris. As he careens wildly, the cowboy-hatted boy jumps from back seat to front seat in the speeding convertible, all while shooting his toy six-shooter – an unnerving end to a tough film.
The winter/spring 2019 noir program is a journey into the dark side of domestic entanglements, with the noir lens focused on darkened living rooms and bedrooms. Looking beyond noir’s usual suspects, the lineup includes kept men, dangerous daughters, obsessive uncles, cheating spouses, sons with mother issues, and criminally inclined clans. While the relationships vary, violence, bad ends, psychological damage, and obsesssions bind the characters. Screenings will be followed by discussions of the intersection of noir sensibilities and domestic relationships.
Presented in the original 16mm format, this is an important regional opportunity to reconnect with the unique sensory conditions of cinema presented on celluloid film. While recent digital restorations have allowed new audiences to more fully appreciate the quality of the cinematographic vision of classic directors, experiencing the magic tactility of the flicker and hum of traditional filmic media is an integral experience to their presentation. Join us in staying curious and keeping endangered media histories alive and thriving in Portland.
KinoNoir is presented on the second Monday of the month by Kinonik with support from the Maine Humanities Council.
Kinonik’s mission is to promote and support the study of cinema through theatrical screenings projected from film. Kinonik screens 16mm films from the donated collection of Juris Ubans and donated academic collections; the eclectic selection offers a rich overview of film from the early days of cinema to the 60s. Join us in the shared darkness to rediscover the power of 24 fps communal cinema.