As it turns out, six of the titles in the 24-film lineup are films that MCP has shown in either a FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT series or its corollary festival A RARE NOIR IS GOOD TO FIND. The total rises to eight when we add in French noirs screened in Los Angeles over the past several years.
Here is the full lineup, which is about to be announced at NC Xmas:
LA BESTIA DEBE MORIR/EL VAMPIRO NEGRO (Argentina)
PANIQUE†/RAZZIA SUR LA CHNOUF† (France)
LE DOULOS/MELODIE EN SOUS-SOL (France)
HANYO aka THE HOUSEMAID/GEOMEUN MEORI aka BLACK HAIR (South Korea)
CRONACA DU UN AMORE/UN MALEDETTO IMBROGLIO (Italy)
AND THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR/90 DEGREES IN THE SHADE (Czechoslovakia)
THE LONG HAUL/NEVER LET GO (UK)
PALE FLOWER/RUSTY KNIFE (Japan)
THE DEVIL STRIKES AT NIGHT/BLACK GRAVEL (W. Germany)
ANOTHER DAWN aka DISTINO AMANECER/TWILIGHT aka CREPUSCULO (Mexico)
LA NOCHE AVANZA/SALON MEXICO (Mexico)
A WOMAN’S FACE (Sweden)/ASHES AND DIAMONDS (Poland)
Films in bold type are the ones shown by us at the Roxie over the past five years. Films with daggers (†) are ones shown by us in Los Angeles. (MELODIE EN SOUS-SOL, or ANY NUMBER CAN WIN, is the only film in the group that we've shown in both SF and LA--both of those screenings coming just this year).
Aside from the eight films screened by MCP, the rarest films here in terms of the general audience are the Argentine films, the Czech films, the second feature in the German duo on Friday (BLACK GRAVEL), and A WOMAN'S FACE (with a very young pre-Hollywood Ingrid Bergman).
Eddie's forays into French noir are not particularly adventurous, but it's a good group of films. He oversells PANIQUE, which has become the new overrated title due to Rialto's anointing of it--it's merely a solid, by-the-numbers tale and is by no means Duvivier's finest or most startling film (Eddie really needs to spend some time looking at what the man did in all the other decades besides the 40s). I must say I'm a bit stunned that he's pushing ANY NUMBER CAN WIN into his lineup after our Roxie screening of it, but it seems to be a film he wanted to show and he's apparently managed to find a 35mm print.
Speaking of which, 13 of the 24 films being shown in NC 18 are digital screenings.
I am a bit surprised that Eddie did not expand past the 1960s with this festival, but perhaps the relatively indifferent response to many of the films he's screened that fall outside the "classic era" caused him to shy away from such an idea.
Glad to see CREPUSCULO in the lineup of Mexican films--the Bracho double bill might be the best such pairing in the entire festival. But the supply of Mexican noirs that seemed to promise a robust treasure trove has slowed to a trickle, as the four in the festival have been part of the same dozen screened all over the place in the past six years, most of them surfacing at UCLA after their first reappearance in Morelia (in 2010 and 2013 respectively). There is so much more to be rediscovered there, including a half-dozen more Leticia Palma films will establish her as one of the key noir actresses of the worldwide period.
Based on what we see here--with so many films recycled from what we'd done earlier--I don't expect that Eddie will return to international noir anytime soon. Maybe in another five years, if we all manage to hold out that long...but the films he needs to track down for a wider audience out of what we've screened at the Roxie (just for reference, in case people are lurking here) are as follows:
THE SCARLET DOVE (Finland)
THE WILD, WILD ROSE (Hong Kong)
O DRAKOS (Greece)
ASSAULT ON THE PAY TRAIN (Brazil)
CAIRO STATION (Egypt)
IN THE NAME OF THE LAW (Italy)
SEAGULLS ARE DYING IN THE HARBOR (Belgium)
CASH CALLS HELL (Japan)
And, of course, there are still dozens more that are almost certainly still under the radar via standard acquisition methods. And that's the crucial difference between the "white elephant" approach taken by the FNF and the "termite" tactics of MCP. It's why we've shown 101 rare French noirs that Eddie doesn't (for some reason...!) want to acknowledge...ah, well.
Bottom line for NC 18: good to very good, not revelatory. But worth a number of toe-dips if not a total immersion.