French Film Noir Streams

Over the next two months, nine film noir classics, mostly by French directors, will receive one-week streaming windows via New York’s French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF). The series has been curated by musical theater star Melissa Errico and The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, who will provide contextual intros to the films.

Errico and Gopnik (both below) will also star in an accompanying concert/conversation, titled Mystery, which debuts live this Thursday, May 6, at 7 pm ET. Gopnik will discuss the evolution of “noir” sensibility in Paris and New York, while Errico will sing such songs as “Blues in the Night,” “Laura,” and “I’m a Fool to Want You.”

The concert costs $15 to stream, and the films $6.99 each.

Here are brief descriptions of the films streaming in the Out of the Dark: The Mystery of Film Noir” series, spanning the years 1937 to 1960:

May 4-10: Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955)

Dassin, a blacklisted American director, made this heist thriller after relocating to Paris – and proceeded to win Best Director honors at the Cannes Film Festival.

May 11-17: Daybreak (Marcel Carné, 1939)

Daybreak, French film noir

Jean Gabin (above) stars in this story of sexual obsession and murder. (Remade in the U.S. as 1947’s The Long Night, starring Henry Fonda.)

May 18-24: Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)

Out of the Past movie

Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer (both above) star, with Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming, in this English-language American film that has been placed in the National Film Registry. (Remade as 1984’s Against All Odds, starring Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward, with Jane Greer as Ward’s mother.)

May 25-31: Nightfall (Jacques Tourneur, 1956)

Nightfall movie

Another American film by Tourneur, Nightfall stars Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft (both above) in the story of a man on the run after being falsely accused of bank robbery and murder.

June 1-7: Two Men in Manhattan (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1959)

Two Men in Manhattan, French film noir

Location filming and a jazz score enliven this story of a reporter (Melville) and a photographer searching for a missing French U.N. delegate.

June 8-14: Elevator to the Gallows ( Louis Malle, 1958)

Speaking of jazz scores, Miles Davis composed the soundtrack to this Paris-set thriller starring Jeanne Moreau as a woman planning to murder her husband with the help of her lover, who works for him.

June 15-21: Pépé le Moko (Julien Duvivier, 1937)

Pepe Le Moko, Jean Gabin, French film noir

Jean Gabin (above) stars as the highly charismatic crime boss of the title, who’s sought by the police but free within the labyrinthic Casbah region of Algiers. (Remade in the U.S. as 1938’s Algiers, starring Charles Boyer as Pépé Le Moko, and as a 1948 musical, Casbah, starring Tony Martin as Pépé Le Moko.)

June 22-28: Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard,1959)

Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo star in this freewheeling film about an American journalism student who sells the New York Herald Tribune on the streets of Paris and a thief/murderer who idolizes the film persona of Humphrey Bogart. (Remade as 1983’s Breathless, starring Richard Gere and Valérie Kaprisky.)

June 29 – July 5: Shoot the Piano Player (François Truffaut, 1960)

Shoot the Piano Player, French film noir

Charles Aznavour is Charlie, a piano player who stumbles into both the criminal underworld and a whirlwind love affair with a waitress (Marie Dubois).

For more info on the films, and/or the concert, and to buy tickets, visit FIAF.

(Top photo: Jeanne Moreau in ‘Elevator to the Gallows.’ Source for all photos: FIAF)

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