Noir Film Festival at Křivoklát Castle

Samuel Fuller's daughter Samantha will introduce her father's films

The sixth annual Noir Film Festival will take place at Křivoklát Castle in Central Bohemia from Aug. 23 to 26.

The festival will have 40 screenings of films not only from the 1940s and 50s, but also from other eras. The castle has five areas adapted for screenings including the courtyard.

While critics argue over the exact definition of film noir, it in general refers to pessimistic crime dramas that filled cinema screens after World War II. The term was coined by French critics in the 1960s.

Areas of focus for the festival this year include director Samuel Fuller; blocks of prison, psycho, Nordic and Czechoslovak noir, and the new femme fatale. There are also tributes and special screenings.

The Czech films will have English subtitles, but not the Nordic films. Most of the other films are in English.

This year will also have a special guest. Director Samuel Fuller passed away in 1997, but his daughter, Samantha Fuller, who appeared in her father’s later films, will come to Křivoklát. She will present four of her father's films and her 2013 documentary, A Fuller Life.

James Franco, William Friedkin, Wim Wenders, Tim Roth and Mark Hamill appear in the documentary. Samuel Fuller has a connection to Czechoslovakia. At the end of World War II, he was among soldiers to liberate a POW camp in Sokolov.

The films on the schedule are from his classic era — Pickup on South Street (1953), House of Bamboo (1955), Shock Corridor (1963) and The Naked Kiss (1964).

The psycho noir section shows four mentally unstable individuals who turn to brutal violence. Richard Widmark is famous for his portrayal of a deranged killer in Kiss of Death (1947). James Cagney gave one his best performances in White Heat (1949). Robert Ryan in Act of Violence (1948) and Lawrence Tierney in Born to Kill (1947) are also in this section.

The prison section has four films made between 1947 and 1958, including Brute Force by Jules Dassin and Riot in Cell Block 11 by Don Siegel.

The Czechoslovak block offers four films with Today for the Last Time (Dnes naposled) from director Martin Frič as a highlight. The film, set largely in a pub, shows the influence of alcohol on the main characters and those around them.

More recent films are in the new femme fatale section. Chronologically this starts with Body Heat, the 1981 film with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner that revived interest in film noir. The 1994 film The Last Seduction has Linda Fiorentino in a steamy role. Larry and Andy Wachowski directed Bound in 1996 before going on to make The Matrix.

The new film White Orchid has its Czech premiere in this section. It features Olivia Thirlby and Jennifer Beals and was made under the auspices of the Estate of Humphrey Bogart, managed by the son of the famous Hollywood actor.

Special screenings include What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, pairing Hollywood rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. There are also tributes to Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan, and new productions from HBO.

The festival website has information about tickets and also accommodation in the area.

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