Gallic Noir

Say what you will about the French, but they were the first to seriously appreciate the sordid artistry of pulp fiction greats Cornell Woolrich and David Goodis. The young and restless moviemakers of the Nouvelle Vague, more attracted to post-war street-tough stories than the classics of Balzac and Zola, reveled in the Americans’ bluntly unsentimental tales of doomed everymen (and women). The late Francois Truffaut had a particular talent for infusing big-U.S.-city scenarios with French existentialism and style, notably in his tasty 1968 adaptation of Woolrich’s The Bride Wore Black. The shrewdly intelligent Jeanne Moreau (subject of a retrospective at the Pacific Film Archive this month) stars in this delicious revenge yarn that represents Truffaut’s most overt homage to his hero, Alfred Hitchcock. As a bonus, Shoot the Piano Player (1960), Truffaut’s poignant rendering of Goodis’ Down There, plays Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Castro.
Mon., Dec. 19, 2011

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