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Noir Film Series at The Screening Room

Take a break from the Buffalo heat, step into the Screening Room Cinema Café, and engross yourself in the dark shadows of the venue’s film noir series.

 Starting this Friday, May 25 the Screening Room will provide a gloomy glimpse into the lives of criminals, drifters, and visits to the seedy parts of town through a series of 11 films.

Hollywood’s classic film noir period stretched from the early 1940’s to the late 1950’s. But noir’s black and white style and attributes of darkness, menace, and fatalism are found in films both pre and post the genre’s defined era – the variety of the series is a testament to that.

Friday’s kick off to the series begins with an evening of German filmmaker Fritz Lang. Fritz’s Scarlet Street will show at 7pm – this 1945 film follows an average painter who recues a bad-girl streetwalker. The film’s many plot twists, and moody and black tone are definitive to the noir period. Fritz’s “M” (1931) will be shown following at 9pm While technically pre-noir this psychological thriller features a criminal protagonist, something that became a staple in the noir style.

While “M” is a onetime showing, you can catch Scarlet Street again on May 26 at 7pm, May 31 at 7:30pm, and June 2 at 7pm.

After Saturday, May 26’s Scarlet Street showing will be one of the series neo-noir films, Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin’s Keyhole (2011) at 9 p.m. The film’s setting is a surreal alternative universe. Maddin meshes together black and white film noir, gangster, and horror that create a fantastically bizarre piece of cinema. The film rearranges the elements of noir to create a lingering tale of a gangster who disrupts the stability of his old home by discovering ghosts of the past, while searching for his estranged wife.

The film is direct from the Toronto, Berlin, and SXSW film festivals. This will be the last showing of Keyhole at the Screen Room; the venue had the films Buffalo premier on May 11.

The noir series will continue throughout the rest of the summer. June will welcome multiple showings of Rudolph Mate’s D.O.A. (1950) and Niagara (1953) starring Marilyn Monroe. Niagara’s setting of the falls will be familiar to most Buffalo residents, but the film’s themes of lust and murder (hopefully) diverge from your typical trip to admire the falls’ beauty. June’s final film will be the 1945 thriller Detour.

While exact showing dates haven’t been announced, the following are the noir films that complete this summer’s series: Kansas City Confidential, Man With the Golden Arm, The Red House, Quicksand, and Pretty Poison.

The Screening Room’s unique atmosphere provides a café setting with light snacks, beer, and wine. It’s a nice change from the Regal’s sticky floors and the conventional movie experience.

The Screening Room Cinema Café is located in the Northtown Plaza Bussiness Center, on 3131 Sheridan Dr. in Amherst. Tickets aren’t sold in advance, but are available half hour before show time on a first come first service basis. Larger groups can request reservations by contacting the theater at 716-837-0376. Tickets range from $5-$7, depending on the film.

For a complete listing of show times, visit screeningroom.net.

-sara dinatale