From SummerScreen to SummerStarz to Nitehawk Outdoors and more, there has been no shortage of free movies in North Brooklyn this summer. The selections tend towards straight forward entertainment, often in celebration of youth culture reminiscent of the recent past. They’re the kinds of movies that work ok as a backdrop while you sit in the park with friends and converse in not-so-quiet whispers in between sips of your wine or beer. It’s budget friendly and fun. And it doesn’t really matter what movie is playing.
Not the case in “Night of Noir.” It is not only indoors in a proper screening room, but the overall event is very much centered around the movie. Each selection is part of a curated series of classics from a much earlier era and inspires thoughts like “There were heroin addict dens then?” as opposed to “What is Alicia Silverstone up to now?”
For those of us who are not so well versed on movie making history, “Night of Noir” can easily be misinterpreted. You might have imagined a Wednesday night scene drinking tasty cocktails amongst a sophisticated well-dressed crowd watching some flick in black and white. Consistent with the rest of the Wythe Hotel, the screening room and bar space certainly has an aura that is nostalgic of its turn of the century origins. But it isn’t about the crowd or the space. It is an homage to noir genre of film and is also a bit of a learning experience about the history, art, and filmmaking techniques of that era.
If you have been associating Film Noir strictly with Hollywood crime dramas, “Night of Noir” puts your American egocentrism in check. It opened with Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s “High & Low” and showcases an international spectrum of noir genre films. Tonight is Fritz Lang’s “M” of Germany, next week is Ida Lupino’s “The Hitch-Hiker”, and in the following week, it closes by bringing it back home to NYC with Samuel Fuller’s “Pickup on South Street.” Each screening is accompanied by a short commentary about the filmmaker and the techniques that are used. I was already familiar with Kurosawa for “Seven Samurai” and expected to watch a film styled in the same vein. Instead I discovered that despite being better known for a movie that takes place in medieval Japan, Kurosawa was adept at adapting Western story lines and had a unique ability to capture movement to convey each scene. I left with a newfound appreciation of Kurosawa and acquired an interest in Film Noir. It didn’t matter where or who I was with.
Night of Noir is a weekly series that shows every Wednesday night until Sept 9. Brown Paper tickets will tell you that it is sold out for each showing but you can get on a guest list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
Tonight (8/26) – Fritz Lang’s “M” (Germany, 1931)
9/2 – Ida Lupino’s “The Hitch-Hiker” (UK, 1953)
9/9 – Samuel Fuller’s “Pickup on South Street” (NYC, 1953)
Time and Location:
Wythe Hotel Cinema (80 Wythe Ave at North 11th Street)
Doors open at 7:30PM. Screening begins at 8:00PM.
Curated by Smriti Keshari and presented by Picture Farm and Little White Lies.