For the fourth year in a row, following the hommage paid to the cities of Paris (2009), New York (2010) and Hong Kong (2011), the Beaune International Thriller Film Festival pays tribute to another city for its influence and mythological dimension within the thriller genre.
In its 2012 edition, the Festival wishes to honour the city of London.
In the world of the thriller, either in literature or in film, London occupies a most prominent place. Let’s not forget that it is the city of Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes. Both characters are emblematic of the two main categories in the genre : noir fiction (with acknowledged gothic origins) and police procedural (mystery, investigation).
On the one hand, the ancestor of the serial killer brings us to the seedy parts of town, ridden by destitution, prostitution and the underworld, and heralds a future that is, of course, very “noir” indeed.
On the other hand, the archetype of the detective foils evil plots and leads the way for Scotland Yard inspectors, whose very name is enough to comfort the victims.
Cinema is torn between cops and crooks, and the scope is so wide that a drastic choice has to be made to name but a few titles and topics : the ripper in The Lodger by Alfred Hitchcock (1926), the black market in They Made Me a Fugitive by Alberto Cavalcanti (1947), gangs of children in Oliver Twist by David Lean (1948), small-time crooks in Night and the City by Jules Dassin (1950), the protective shadow in The Blue Lamp by Basil Dearden (1950), murderous racism in Sapphire by Basil Dearden (1959), a day in the life of a police officer in Gideon’s Day by John Ford (1959), a miscarriage of justice that eventually led to the abolition of death penalty in 10 Rillington Place by Richard Fleischer (1971), overstrained cops in The Offence by Sidney Lumet (1973), today’s underworld in I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead by Mike Hodges (2003), or the Russian mafia in Eastern Promises by David Cronenberg (2007).
Not to mention the countless black comedies in which, noblesse oblige, killing old ladies and robbing banks is a matter for gentlemen.
But this is a different story.
Publisher, creator and director
of the Rivages Noir collection