Blacklisted director Jules Dassin followed up a pair of American noir classics, The Naked City and Brute Force, with his 1955 Parisian masterpiece, Rififi, now streaming in its full edition on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. A mélange of suspense, brutality, and dark humor, this twisting, turning tale of four ex-cons who hatch one last glorious robbery in the City of Light was an international hit, earned Dassin the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and has been wildly influential on the decades of heist thrillers that have come in its wake. Special features on this edition include an interview with Dassin conducted in 2000.
Also up this week: a pair of hypnotic films from two exciting contemporary Latin American directors and a Deborah Kerr double feature.
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye and La Ciénaga
Take a trip into the intoxicating worlds of two female filmmakers from Latin America. In the 2016 short And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye, which won the award for best international narrative short at Sundance, Francisca Alegría captures the life of an eighty-five year old woman who believes a ghost has come to take her to the afterlife. With the 2001 film La Ciénaga, Lucrecia Martel became one of contemporary cinema’s most acclaimed new voices. A work of tactile beauty and richly sensuous detail, the film observes how political and societal frustrations arise in the life of a bourgeois extended family.
Friday Night Double Feature: I See a Dark Stranger and Black Narcissus
In the late 1940s, Deborah Kerr was on the cusp of international stardom. This double bill features two magnificent breakthrough performances from the decade, for which she won the 1947 best actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle. In Frank Launder’s seriocomic wartime thriller I See a Dark Stranger (1946), she plays a young Irish woman whose anti-British sentiment leads her down the path to becoming a Nazi spy. In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s sumptuous Technicolor masterpiece Black Narcissus (1947), she stars as the Sister Superior of a group of Anglican nuns spiraling into madness in the Himalayas.