A year or so ago I blogged about a post-war crime drama set in Northern Ireland and titled the piece Northern Noir. I was a little hesitant to apply that most overused and abused term "noir" in a piece about a British picture, but it evoked much of the look, feel, and themes of the the film in question perfectly. Apparently for similar reasons, the NWFilmCenter in Portland has titled its special screening series of post-war British films playing at the Whitsell Auditorium in December-January British Noir. Here's an excerpt from their website:
French film critics coined the term "noir" to epitomize the surprisingly bleak and pessimistic turn they observed in many American postwar films of the late forties and early fifties. Disillusionment and paranoid malaise were not, however, confined to the States alone; during this same period Great Britain turned out a number of films that are thoroughly evocative of the noir tradition yet maintain an unmistakable sense of British composure. Pitch black in form and content and rife with themes of fatalistic abandon, these films depict an underbelly of British society where decorum isn’t quite enough to suppress greed, deception, and murderous intent.
That clears things up, I'd say. The series includes two pictures by Carol Reed (The Third Man 1949, The Fallen Idol 1948), and one each by Michael Powell (Peeping Tom 1960), John Boulting (Brighton Rock 1947), and Robert Hamer (It Always Rains on Sunday 1947). Click the link above for further details and show times. Unfortunately, my favorite Reed picture, the previously alluded to Odd Man Out (1948) isn't on the list. Perhaps this series will become an annual event and we'll eventually get see that film on the big screen too. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to drinking in these dark and doom filled flicks from across the pond and may blog about 'em too. What better way to spend the grey days of winter? Hope to see you there.