“There are eight million stories in the Naked City,” as the narrator immortally states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film—and this is one of them.
From the moment of its release in March 1948, Jules Dassin’s enigmatic police procedural The Naked City stood as one in a series of adaptations. The title, taken from Weegee’s 1945 collection of semi-documentary photographs, aligns the film with this aesthetic of isolated, tabloid shots sequenced in order to depict the larger flows of New York. Weegee's book was very influential as it was one of the first unflinching photographic studies of the underbelly of the American city. His photographs went from the newspaper to the MoMA, legitimizing depictions of the poor and the helpless.
The film used hidden camera photography to show real life images of crowds in New York City. It was part of a trend in American film during the 1945 - 1951 period, to make crime dramas that were realistic in detail and shot on location. Later, Dassin’s realism and his probing into the netherworld of post-war city life inspired Kurosawa's Stray Dog which depicts a similar case of lost morals and apathy in post-war Tokyo.
Jules Dassin’s grainy noir, influenced by Italian neo-realism and American crime fiction and winner of two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing, remains a benchmark for naturalism in noir, living and breathing in the promises and perils of the Big Apple, from its lowest depths to its highest skyscrapers.
May 2, 2014
198 Deptford High St
London SE8 3PR
There will be drinks served and popcorn for all.
Free event. No ticket required.
Due to limited capacity entrance is first come first served.