The French Had a Name for It 3

S.F.'s other film noir festival returns to the Roxie with all-new French programming

Returning to the Roxie for its third five-day run, this year’s series “The French Had a Name for It” ranges in time from 1939 to 1965. The fog of World War II permeates the majority of these films. The festival trailer in tabloid-graphics asks, “Who Will Die?” The filmmakers collected here capture that random sense of wartime death, presenting the psychic aftershock of a culture in moody, black-and-white frames. It comes as no surprise that the author of Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre, wrote a screenplay in the genre: Les Jeux Sont Faits. Also in the lineup, a Simone Signoret vehicle Manèges (The Cheat). Her vitriolic performance must have been the inspiration for many of Fassbinder’s leading ladies. But if you want a full day of one director’s dedication to film noir, go on Saturday for the Robert Hossein mini-festival. Made in the 1960s, his movies create the same space that certain episodes of The Twilight Zone did: recognizable but subtly altered, parallel worlds. This is especially true for the highly stylized The Game of Truth, a drawing room whodunit à la Agatha Christie, heavy with frozen close-ups. A greasy-skinned Jean-Louis Trintignant is marvelously unscrupulous. His sulking, tremulous lip and the beehive bouffants on all those perfectly coiffed females definitely add up to no good.

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