Film Noir


Film Noir
+ Jean-Pierre Melville: Master of French Noir
Thursday, August 1
6:00pm - Reception + Music by Niña Mendoza
7:00pm - Detour (Film Noir)
8:40pm - Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville)

Looking for decency, honesty, integrity? Paragons of virtue? Exemplary tales of moral uplift? Well, chump, you’ve come to the wrong dark, stinking alley! It’ll be seductive spider ladies, cynical anti-heroes, and sordid acts of crime — not to mention sensational cinematic style — tarnishing the silver screen in August as The Cinematheque embarks on its annual summer season of the sleazy, fatalistic nightmare known as Film Noir. This year’s celebration of classic American cinema’s most depraved and downbeat film movement showcases ten hard-boiled treasures, each an important noir essential or a ripe-for-rediscovery rarity. Among the highlights: the first major restoration of Edgar G. Ulmer’s gloriously bleak Detour, a B-movie landmark which distills noir to its archetypal elements; a new restoration of noir maestro Robert Siodmak’s The Killers, also one of the noir style’s defining works; and two pictures, both also newly restored, by actress and filmmaker Ida Lupino, the only woman to direct noir in the classic period. In fact, no fewer than seven of the ten films in this year’s program will screen in pristine new restorations. All offer dangers — and pleasures — of the uncommonly cruel, venal, and treacherous variety. And that, bub, is no hooey.

In a parallel program, our August calendar also features a select retrospective of the films of Jean-Pierre Melville, the influential director whose très cool neo-noir thrillers, including Bob le flambeur and Le Samouraï, epitomized French crime cinema.

Can't wait for Noir in August? Don’t miss Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil, Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, screening in July, in our series “High and Low: From Pulp to Poetry.”


Niña Mendoza is a Vancouver-based DJ who loves music, and plays it well. Recently appearing at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and alongside artists like Maceo Parker, Bilal, and Raphael Saadiq, they simultaneously respect music's history and push new sounds with an insatiable curiosity and stellar DJ skills.

Opening Night complimentary wine and cheese generously provided by the Consulate General of France in Vancouver. Mini cones of Drunken Cherry dairy-free gelato courtesy of Umaluma.


Click for film notes + showtimes

Current Showings

NEW RESTORATION! Joan Crawford gives an iconic performance in this top-notch mix of moody film noir and glossy “woman’s picture.”
Fritz Lang’s nihilistic 1950s noir, featuring a career-best performance from Gloria Grahame, raised screen violence to new heights.
NEW RESTORATION! More than one film noir expert has hailed this almost-forgotten B-movie as a gem deserving of more attention and love.
NEW RESTORATION! Sultry noir fixture Lizabeth Scott sizzles as a femme-fatale housewife in this long-unseen thriller, recently restored thriller.

Recent Showings

NEW RESTORATION! Edgar G. Ulmer's legendary no-budget noir is often cited as the greatest B-movie ever made!
NEW RESTORATION! Robert Siodmak's The Killers is a master class in the criminality, corruption, and cynicism of the noir universe.
Based on Graham Greene’s novel and set in San Francisco, this moody, morbid wartime thriller is one of the foundational films noir.
Fritz Lang’s cynical, sordid noir was originally banned in several U.S. jurisdictions as indecent and immoral!
NEW RESTORATION! The trailblazing female filmmaker and noted actress Ida Lupino was the only woman to direct a film noir in the classic period.
NEW RESTORATION! Ida Lupino’s follow-up to her noir landmark The High-Hiker was this haunting hybrid of noir and melodrama.