Tenspeed & Brownshoe

Monday, May 15, 2006

Went to see a double feature at the B NOIR festival at the Film Forum this weekend. It's going on through July.
Different double feature everyday, and I think okay, this is why I live in New York.
But more than that, from a writing and film making point of view, make that from a STORY TELLING point of view these films are rich and fascinating historical documents.
Meant to be shown with the the big A list features with bigger stars and bigger directors, they only even run an hour fifteen each.
It is the stuff of dime novels of the day, and pulp magazines and comic books.
And it hit me that this is story telling for story tellings sake. The audience was gasping and laughing and so present with every moment like I don't think I have ever experienced in a theatre. We are in the dark saying, Tell me a good one. Howzit end? Who dunnit?
We are watching a film written by someone who never saw Star Wars. Directed by someone who hasn't seen the Godfather.
The simple innocence of the writing is so at odds with the sudden violence at times, it evokes awkward laughter from an audience here fifty years in the future.
In The Window, a little boy witnesses a murder and no one believes him. But the murderers- a husband and wife team, I'm talking the Cleavers here - get a hold of him and in the back of a cab, the woman shields the drivers view while the man punches the kid in the face til he is unconscious. It is shocking in it's off handedness.
Later they decide to kill him and the man goes,
"Time for little Tommy to have himself an accident."
But it's not tongue in cheek. It's not a joke. It is true dark smoky noir and it is delicious.
The only special effect is context.
And of course the best lighting in cinema.
It's Brownshoe, Doll - who were you expecting?