Neo-noir Friday Night Flicks

Aug 31, 2012
Kim Basinger redefined the role of femme fatale in “L.A. Confidential.”

Belfast — In September, Friday Night Flicks, the Belfast Free Library’s film series, will present four examples of modern interpretations of film noir. All screenings will take place at 7 p.m. in the Abbott Room of the library, 106 High St., free of charge.

While film noir is usually thought of as a genre of the 1940s and ‘50s, its elements — the private eye, the femme fatale, the criminal plot that goes terribly awry — have been re-imagined many times to the present day, including some of the most highly regarded films of recent years.

The first presentation Sept. 7 will be “L.A. Confidential,” based on a novel by James Ellroy and a huge success, both commercially and critically. Set in Los Angeles in 1953, it is a tale of suspense and corruption of institutions ranging from the police to Hollywood, brilliantly played by an all-star cast that includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and Kim Basinger in her Oscar-winning role.

When two brothers (Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) find $4.4 million in unmarked bills in a crashed airplane, they decide that they can get away with keeping it. All they need to do is follow a simple plan. What could go wrong? “A Simple Plan” from 1998 will be shown on Sept. 14.

“The Last Seduction,” the Sept. 21 feature, was initially denied a theatrical release but became a cult favorite on cable TV and eventually came to the theaters, where it was a surprise hit. Linda Fiorentino stars as a modern femme fatale in this gripping 1994 thriller.

Rounding out the month on Sept. 28 is “Jackie Brown.” Quentin Tarantino pays homage to both classic film noir and 1970s blaxploitation films in this 1997 adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel “Rum Punch.” Pam Grier and Robert Forster made spectacular comebacks with their performances, sharing the screen with an all-star cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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