MIDCENTURY PRODUCTIONS

featuring films from cinema's most explosive decades—the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s

 

FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 4 WOWS THE ROXIE

Since the spectacular debut of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT series in November 2014, a total of 52 noirs have been shown. Of these, 44% (23 films) are from French noir's busiest & most varied decade—the 1950s.

The fourth installment of THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT screened at San Francisco's Roxie Theatre November 3-6. The lineup ranged from Marcel L'Herbier's sleek and shocking Happiness (1935) to Tony Richardson's Mademoiselle (1966), an uncompromising look at human cruelty, primal urges, and sexual madness...embodied in the fearsome presence of the late, great Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017).

FRENCH 4 showcased the quintessential French actor, Jean Gabin, with three memorable films from the 50s, Hijack Highway, The Night Affair, and Crime & Punishment (with festival favorite Robert Hossein). Opening Night celebrated the rediscovery of Eddie Constantine in This Man Is Dangerous, the official origin myth for Constantine's beloved character Lemmy Caution, followed by the screening of Lucky Jo.

Add two early films from the morbidly masterful Claude Chabrol, Handsome Serge and The Good Time Girls; the festival's first glimpse of 30s colossus Harry Baur in Robert Siodmak's Hatred; and the astonishing discovery of a superb post-WWII vehicle for the legendary Arletty—the brutally frank noir melodrama Gigolo…and you have, as festival programmer Don Malcolm puts it: "the best and most varied lineup we've yet been able to assemble."

Thanks to our loyal audience at San Francisco's Roxie Theatre for their continuing support of our groundbreaking French film noir series.

Even if you're not in the Bay Area, sign up for updates about Midcentury events around the country, to be announced during 2018, including French noir, Don Murray, our social-political series, the Marvin Paige Legacy Project and our incredible collection of merchandise, soon to be available online for your shopping pleasure!

 

SF ROXIE THEATRE - SAT, DECEMBER 9

Force of Evil - The Ear - Punishment Park

AGITPROP! 2 – FORCE OF EVIL • THE EAR • PUNISHMENT PARK

Midcentury Production's AGITPROP! events present work that explore the social and political filmmaking of the past. The three films screening Saturday, December 9 are exceptional films made in exceptional times and deal with the tendency of the modern state to undermine the freedoms of its citizens. Tickets are $10, with 100% of sales from all tickets donated to the ACLU. → TICKETS & MORE INFO

1:00 PM: FORCE OF EVIL (1948) has particular resonance to our current American malaise. John Garfield stars in this blistering "autopsy of capitalism" written and directed by Abraham Polonsky. It lays out the lingering danger that a system of so-called "free enterprise" can become predatory and corrupt, in a film that pits brother against brother. It's a film that's needed to be shown ever since the tragic election results of November 8, 2016.

2:45 PM: Banned in Czechoslovakia for more than 20 years, THE EAR aka UCHO, was made in 1970, but not released until the advent of perestroika. It is a tale of paranoia and relentless surveillance in a totalitarian state, and the shattering effect it has on the lives of a couple in the middle ranges of a thoroughly corrupt government bureaucracy. Directed by Karel Kachyna, The Ear has been described as a cross between Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation and Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf—a cautionary tale about what can happen to humanity if it fails to safeguard democratic principles.

4:30 PM: PUNISHMENT PARK is remarkably prescient in showing how the state can manipulate perception and undermine dissent. Dissident British filmmaker Peter Watkins created this cinema verité style "mockumentary" in 1971, during the final phase of the protest over the Vietnam War. Forty-five years later, it is a fascinating historical artifact that needs to be seen by those who wish to be effective in resisting the increasingly worrisome statements issued from the current occupant of the White House.

SF ROXIE THEATRE - WED, DECEMBER 13

NOIR NOËL – WHO KILLED SANTA CLAUS • PARIS PICKUP

Who Killed Santa Claus - Paris Pick-up

Those who attended FRENCH 4 already know about our special Xmas plans, but we are delighted to remind everyone that NOIR NOËL, a sensational evening of French Yuletide noir, is coming to the Roxie on Wednesday evening, December 13th (beginning at 7:15pm). → TICKETS & MORE INFO

Our double feature begins with the great Harry Baur (just seen at FRENCH 4 in Mollenard) in Who Killed Santa Claus / L'Assassinat du père Noël (1941), a superb "provincial gothic" tale of greed and murder at Yuletide in a remote French village. This was the first film produced by Continental Films, the Nazi-run film company established during the Occupation, but director Christian-Jaque and screenwriter Charles Spaak manage to work in many subversive themes that signify the beginnings of the French resistance to their oppressors. It is Harry Baur at his most poignant and lovable.

We follow with festival favorite Robert Hossein in one of the twistiest French thrillers ever, Paris Pick-up / Le Monte-charge (1962), which will make you swear off elevators for quite some time! Hossein plays a just-released ex-con whose interest in an unattached young woman (Lea Massari) leads to a series of Christmas Eve events that will leave you baffled and breathless. Based on a Frédéric Dard novel, Paris Pick-up is quite possibly the best Xmas-based thriller ever.

Roxie Theater - San Francisco

The Roxie Theater is at 3117 16th Street. PHONE: 415.863.1087

 

WED, DEC 13 • NOIR NOËL
WHO KILLED SANTA CLAUS
at 7:15 PM

PARIS PICK-UP at 9:00 PM

 

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MIDCENTURY PRODUCTIONS

A "boutique" programming venture designing "mini film festivals," MIDCENTURY PRODUCTIONS features films from cinema's most explosive three decades—the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. We program original festivals and work with organizations and individuals to craft singular programming that illuminates the hidden corners of these three decades.

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