Neo noir snags top award from COL•COA French film fest

The City of Lights City of Angels (COL•COA) 16th annual French film festival on Monday announced its winners. Nearly 19,000 attended the week-long fest at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood.

I was pleased to see that one of the noir titles, “Early One Morning” (De bon matin) garnered the Critics Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; Christy Lemire of the Associated Press served as president of the jury. Starring Jean-Pierre Darroussin, “Early One Morning” was directed by Jean-Marc Moutout.

“Paris by Night” (Une nuit) and “A Gang Story” (“Les Lyonnais”) completed the film-noir series on Friday night. There were many terrific films shown at the fest; other movies with noir elements included: “38 Witnesses,” “Guilty,” “Americano,” “Polisse” and “The Minister.” And it was a treat to see Marcel Carné’s “Hotel Du Nord” – a masterpiece of Poetic Realism and an important precursor of film noir.

The rest of the award winners (for feature films) were:

The Critics Special Prize and the COL•COA Audience Award went to “The Intouchables,” written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy, this buddy-movie comedy will be released in the U.S. on May 25.

Critics Special Mention for “Polisse,” written by Maïwenn and Emmanuelle Bercot; directed by Maïwenn. This opens in the U.S. on May 18.

Daniel Auteuil's breakthrough role was in “Jean de Florette” and its sequel “Manon des Sources,” both from 1986.

The First Feature Award went to “The Adopted,” written by Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Perez and Chris Deslandes; directed by Mélanie Laurent.

The Audience Special Prize went to the documentary “Leadersheep,” written and directed by Christian Rouaud.

“The Well Digger’s Daughter,” written and directed by Daniel Auteuil based on Marcel Pagnol’s original work, won the Audience Special Mention. This film opens in the U.S. on July 20.

Stay tuned for reviews of COL•COA films!

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Film noir screenings galore this month in Los Angeles

A new photo for FNB! By Halstan Williams,

So looking forward to the dark this month! There are three great fests taking place in April.

“Criss Cross” is the first of many excellent film noir titles at the third annual TCM Classic Film Festival, which this year is celebrating style in the movies, from fashion to architecture and everything in between.

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday. “Criss Cross” screens at 10 p.m. Thursday and the Film Noir Foundation’s czar of noir Eddie Muller will introduce the film.

Other noirs include: “Raw Deal,” “Cry Danger,” “Vertigo,” “Chinatown,” “Fall Guy,” “Night and the City,” “Gun Crazy,” “Marathon Man,” “Seconds,” “To Catch a Thief” and “Black Sunday.”

Kim Novak is one of many Hollywood greats to attend the fest; check out the schedule for more info on events, interviews and discussions. (For a little comic relief from full-on noir fare, the always-entertaining Michael Schlesinger will introduce 1942’s “Who Done It,” in which Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play a pair of would-be writers posing as detectives.)

Starting Monday, April 16, is the 16th annual City of Lights City of Angels (COL•COA) film festival, which presents 34 French features and 21 shorts. Opening the fest is the North American premiere of “My Way” (“CloClo”), a biopic about French pop star Claude François. Directed by Florent-Emilio Siri, the film stars Jérémie Renier.

Closing the fest on Sunday, April 22, is a comedy called “The Intouchables,” by writer/directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy, “The Intouchables” is the third highest grossing film of all time in France.

Other titles of particular interest include: “Michel Petrucciani,” “38 Witnesses,” “Guilty,” “A Trip to the Moon”/“The Extraordinary Voyage,” “Step Up to the Plate,” “The Art of Love,” “Another Woman’s Life,” “Le Skylab,” “Call Me Savage,” Paris By Night,” “A Gang Story,” “Early One Morning,” “Hotel du Nord, “Americano, “Polisse” and “The Minister.”

Paris By Night,” “A Gang Story” and “Early One Morning are part of COL•COA’s film-noir series on Friday, April 20.

Femme fatale Gloria Grahame stars with Sterling Hayden in 1954’s “Naked Alibi,” the first film in the Hayden tribute. The second: “Suddenly,” 1954.

Friday, April 20, is also the opening night of Noir City: Hollywood, the 14th annual festival of film noir at the Egyptian Theatre, presented in collaboration with the Film Noir Foundation.

Opening night is an Alan Ladd double feature: “The Great Gatsby” and “This Gun for Hire.” The foundation’s Eddie Muller and fellow noir expert Alan K. Rode will introduce the movie.

The stellar lineup includes many rare films, several of which are not on DVD:

“Naked Alibi”/“Suddenly”
“Phantom Lady”/“Black Angel”/“The Window”
“T-Men”/“Strange Impersonation”
“Caged”/“Big House USA”
“Scene of the Crime”/“Reign of Terror”
“Slaughter on Tenth Avenue”/“Edge of the City”
“Johnny O’Clock/“Johnny Allegro”
“Shield for Murder”/“Private Hell 36”
“Okay, America”/“Afraid to Talk”
“The Maltese Falcon”/“City Streets”
“The Postman Always Rings Twice”
“Three Strangers”/“Nobody Lives Forever”
“Circumstantial Evidence”/“Sign of the Ram”
“Mary Ryan, Detective”/“Kid Glove Killer”

See you in the dark!

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COL•COA French film fest in Los Angeles announces lineup

François Truffart announces the COL•COA program.

With five Oscar wins by “The Artist” still fresh in people’s minds, Los Angeles is gearing up to welcome more French film talent to the city. The City of Lights, City of Angels (COL•COA) festival, a week of French film premieres in Hollywood, runs April 16-23.

Last night, at the French Consulate in Beverly Hills, the Franco-American Cultural Fund announced the program for the fest, now in its 16th year.

“The historic triumph of ‘The Artist’ reflects a remarkable year for French cinema and we are glad to introduce a broad spectrum of new films to Hollywood that reveal both the quality and diversity of recent French productions,” said François Truffart, COL•COA executive director and artistic director.

COL•COA will feature 34 features and 21 shorts. It opens on Monday, April 16, with the North American premiere of “My Way” (“CloClo”), a biopic about French pop star Claude François, directed and co-written by Florent-Emilio Siri. The film, already a critical and commercial success in France, stars Jérémie Renier (“The Kid with a Bike”).

Closing the fest on Sunday, April 22, is a hit comedy called “The Intouchables” by writing/directing team Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. François Cluzet and Omar Sy star.

Of course I am most looking forward to the film noir series on Friday, April 20, which will include “Paris By Night” (“Une nuit”) by Philippe Lefebvre; Olivier Marchal’s “A Gang Story” (“Les Lyonnais”) and “Early One Morning” (“De bon matin”) from Jean-Marc Moutout.

More on the fest later; meanwhile be sure to check the COL•COA site and snag your tickets – they will sell quickly!

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