A cloak of night for the 33rd Noir in Festival poster by Manuele Fior

Noir in Festival is back in Milan from December 1st to 7th, 2023, its multifaceted program spanning centuries and genres, authors, auteurs, and visions, catching the glint of contemporary literature and film. A restlessness runs through the 33rd edition of the festival, which finds its perfect balance halfway between the edgy verve of Milan-born writer Andrea G. Pinketts, a Noir habitué who died exactly five years ago, and our 2023 poster, moody yet straining towards the future, and designed by one of Italy’s master comic book artists, Manuele Fior.

Highly acclaimed as an illustrator and creator of graphic novels, his most recent titles being Celestia (Oblomov edizioni, 2019-2020) and Hypericon (Coconino Press, 2022), Fior has worked with the leading players in the national and international media and on the publishing scene. The list is long: Coconino Press, Oblomov, La Repubblica, La Stampa, Internazionale, Le Monde, and The New Yorker; Einaudi, Feltrinelli, Mondadori, La nave di Teseo, Dargaud, Futuropolis, L’école des loisirs, Gallimard, and Dark Horse. Fior has earned top accolades for his work: il Fauve d’or at the Angoulême Comics Festival, the Micheluzzi Award at Napoli Comicon, the Gran Guinigi and the Yellow Kid at Lucca Comics & Games, and the l’Inkpot Award at San Diego Comic-Con.

When Noir in Festival tapped Fior to design the poster for its 33rd edition, he found himself in excellent company, alongside the other artists who have had the honor since 1991, like Paolo Bacilieri, Gigi Cavenago, Lorenzo De Felici, Mario Alberti, Hugo Pratt, Lorenzo Mattotti, Bill Plympton, Charles Schultz, Mojmir Jezek, and many more.

Actually, Manuele Fior partnering with Noir in Festival almost seems like a foregone conclusion. It was Fior, after all, who penned the covers of recent titles from La Nave di Teseo: novels by Giorgio Scerbanenco, the author after whom, back in 1997, the festival’s award for best Italian novel of the year in the noir genre was named. Fior’s signature style, magical and dream-like, between the midnight blue of Eyes Wide Shut and the cyberpunk allure of Ghost in the Shell, wafts us into the mysterious atmosphere of an eerie Piazza Duomo immersed in silence, where an enigmatic figure lurks: a detective? A killer? Or a reflection of contemporary humanity’s deepest fears?

“The essence of the noir genre,” declare directors Giorgio Gosetti and Marina Fabbri, “is changing the rules of the game, shunning the status quo, and shaking off the shackles of convention. And what better way to capture the most modern iteration of noir than by playing with the stark contrast that Manuele Fior masterfully provides us in our poster this year? Milan as we all know it, with its trademark, the Duomo, clashes with a Milan of the future, a jumble of gleaming skyscrapers that represents high finance, virtual reality, and all the forms of artificial intelligence. This friction between the old and the new creates no ruins; it spawns doubt, curiosity, debate, and awareness. This is precisely the spirit moving our 2023 edition, and we thank Fior for having depicted it in such a faithful and perceptive fashion.”

Manuele Fior is one of the best-known and widely-acclaimed contemporary illustrators and comic book artists. His graphic novels have been translated into over 10 languages, garnering major international awards and exhibitions. Newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses regularly turn to Fior to illustrate their articles and covers, in Italy and abroad. His unforgettable gouaches and growing fame have won him commissions for movie posters and artwork for leading cultural events, as well as uniform editions of works by Pavese, Scerbanenco, Ballard, and Louise Penny.