This edition is contagious

The 28th edition of Noir in Festival unspools in Milan and Como from December 3 to 9, directed by Giorgio Gosetti, Marina Fabbri and Gianni Canova (IULM delegate) - a triumvirate that attests to the festival’s twofold mission in recent years, spotlighting education and training (in Milan, on the IULM college campus), as well as cinematic discovery, entertainment and glamour (at the Teatro Sociale in Como). True to its interdisciplinary calling, which has always interwoven film and literature, tradition and current events, comics and new media to create a single, unique genre, Noir in Festival 2018 can boast two heavyweights from the big screen and the printed page: Joe Dante (Noir’s Lifetime Achievement Award for film) and Jo Nesbř (Raymond Chandler Award).

But the festival lineup of talks, tributes, and premieres features at leasts four more stellar events: the roundtable with Dario Argento, Gianfranco Manfredi and well-known "zombie" experts to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero; a talk with Katharina Kubrick on the occasion of another anniversary, that of 2001: A Space Odyssey; the day-long event titled The British Touch, featuring three major female exponents of the new English-language mystery novel following in Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith’s footsteps - Jill Dawson (The Crime Writer), Sujata Massey (The Widows of Malabar Hill), and Sarah Pinborough (Cross Her Heart). Last but not least, a masterclass with Ning Ying, president of Noir’s film jury and China’s most famous woman filmmaker, one of the founders of the so-called "Sixth Generation" and a guest of Noir in Festival in collaboration with Milan’s Confucius Institute.

Whether the participants be new faces or established names, the 2018 Noir in Festival lineup offers a wide range of thrills and other delights, to enchant the senses, stir the imagination and send shivers up the spine of Noirgoers this December.

Big screen / small screen
There’s Johnny Depp (father) and Lily-Rose Depp (daughter), one for each of the two films that bookend the 2018 Official Selection, opener Les fauves by Vincent Mariette and closing film City of Lies by Brad Furman; a Dirty Harry-style femme fatale with all the star presence of Nicole Kidman in Destroyer by Karyn Kusama; and Anna Kendrick (whom we first met in Twilight), the postcard-perfect mother who turns detective in A Simple Favor by Paul Feig and finds her true calling in this black comedy. Then European film and Latin American cinema face off this year, with the Argentine El Angel by Luis Ortega a favorite for the Oscar for best foreign-language film, while Sweden’s Border by Ali Abbasi is up for the European Film Awards, and a story of feuds in the drug trade, Birds of Passage, signals a new film talent for the young millennium, Ciro Guerra, his film made all the more urgent by the class wars between rich and poor on the American border.

Plus there’s the exciting showdown between the six films shortlisted for the Claudio Caligari Award, the winner to be selected by a people’s jury of IULM students, young cinephiles under the guidance of three film critics. And the novelties keep coming: an explosive political cartoon like Black Is Beltza by Fermín Muguruza, further proof of the vitality of the Basque film industry (and winner of a Noir award last year); the world premiere of the new series Trapped created by Baltasar Kormákur and the return of a cult series like Canada’s Cardinal, crimes hidden under fresh snowfalls by the North Sea in the former, and behind the fog of Lake Ontario’s fictional Algonquin Bay in the latter, ugly truths concealed from view. Last up on the audiovisual front, and a tradition by now, the prize in memory of Luca Svizzeretto, youngest and most passionate of film critics and a generous friend to Noir. To remember him as he would have wanted, every year Noir singles out a genuine "maverick" working in Italian genre films. This time the prize goes to makeup and special effects artist Sergio Stivaletti.

The Noir in Festival literary lineup
Ever since its founding in 1991, Noir has drawn much of its strength from noir fiction, titles that have often bestowed a special identity and character on the entire program. This year is no exception, and not only due to our A-list of foreign guests, with place of honor going to the power duo that makes up the pen name Lars Kepler and is presenting Lazarus, the new mystery novel featuring detective Joona Lina, nine years after the revelation of their The Hypnotist. The Italian school also continues to thrive, in all its breathtaking variety: Noir has tapped Carlo Lucarelli, popular mystery meister, with his novel Peccato mortale; bestselling author Donato Carrisi, with his latest effort, Il gioco del suggeritore; original standouts such as veteran noirist Gianni Biondillo (Il sapore del sangue), plot wizard Roberto Costantini (Da molto lontano), the all-engrossing Mariolina Venezia (Rione Serra Venerdì); the five topnotch finalists for the Giorgio Scerbanenco Award; and the festival winds up with a storyteller whose trademark is his evocative settings blending film and literature, Enrico Vanzina (La sera a Roma). It’s certainly telling that while Cecilia Scerbanenco treats us to her fascinating first-time portrait of her mystery writer father, in her book Il fabbricante di storie, the recent winner of the 2018 Rome Film Fest, Edoardo De Angelis, reaffirms his love of the noir genre and his affection for Noir in Festival by letting slip that the antihero Duca Lamberti will soon be back on the silver screen in his next film.

Events and partners
The three-morning talk series at IULM in Milan will be devoted to as many aspects of the creation of genre films: makeup as an art form (from the creations of Sergio Stivaletti to the virtual prowess of the best post-production work in the age of digital effects); mythmaking (a case study being when George A. Romero, for Night of the Living Dead, readapted a model from voodoo traditions, first seen on screen courtesy of Bela Lugosi, in White Zombie, and turned it into an icon, the symbol of modern-day fears); and mystery writing by women in the talks dubbed The British Touch.

Como, on the other hand, will be the setting for the first-ever production-oriented genre workshop, in a joint collaboration with AGICI and with the support of Istituto Luce - Cinecittà, featuring a special "window" on co-productions between Italy and Switzerland.
And thanks again to the Luce Archives for another round of the by now legendary snatches of visual memory at Noir in Festival, dubbed this year Ciak, che spavento!, with zombies, monsters, revenants, and other thrills in the grand tradition of Italian genre films by the likes of Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

Promoted by MiBAC’s General Directorate for Cinema, with the support of the IULM University of Languages and Media in Milan and the city of Como; produced by Studio Coop in collaboration with the Associazione Amici di Como, SIAE, Istituto Luce - Cinecittà, Consorzio Como Turistica, Associazione provinciale Albergatori di Como and Milano Film Network, Noir in Festival is made possible by the commitments of its many partners in the film sector, the trust and support of producers and distributors, the efforts of a team made up of young film lovers and well-known professionals who are cultural events organizers, and the warmth and concern of local governments, artists and friends. Warm thanks to one and all.

"Putting together a festival," say Giorgio Gosetti and Marina Fabbri, "is like rehearsing to perform a musical score: written by others, the artists, it’s up to us to assemble the parts, capture the sound and emotions in the notes, highlight counterpoint and the movements, and generally meet the expectations, in full, of the audience. In the case of Noir in Festival, for several year now, the job has been multiplied by two: Milan and Como have different needs and different demands, which our own efforts need to address, while the underlying constants must be harmony, structure, and the meaning of the event. This year, with regard to the program, the names of the leading lights, the titles of the works and the lineup of events, we feel we’ve been a remarkable orchestra. The truth is we’ve had a lot going for us: a fine vintage, talent- and idea-wise; the support of all those who believe in Noir’s unique formula; and the privilege of a tradition that has become a byword for quality. Now it’s time for others to judge our performance, for the curtain to rise. But thrills and entertainment are guaranteed, for all who seek them at Noir."
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