×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Noir

"Film Noir" is a stylish, sexually explicit animation that plays like "The Big Sleep" meets "Fritz the Cat."

With:
Voices: Mark Keller, Roger Jackson, Elaine Clark, Jeff Atik, Kristina Negrete, Amy Provenzano, Victoria O'Toole.

Self-discovery is a dangerous business in “Film Noir,” a stylish, sexually explicit adult animation that plays like “The Big Sleep” meets “Fritz the Cat.” Using 3-D animation techniques, the toon cleverly captures the conventions of the eponymous genre and transfers them to graphic form with panache. Witty Los Angeles-set tale of a beleaguered gumshoe, seductive femme fatales, a ruthless millionaire and shady plastic surgeon should put debuting writer-helmer D. Jud Jones and co-director-chief animator Risto Topaloski on everyone’s wanted list. Potential cult item could play arthouses and college campuses worldwide, with a killer afterlife on the tube and DVD.

From its opening frames, the pic updates the archetypal aspects of B&W film noir to the present day, with color highlights for things like ruby red lips and fingernails, yellow crime tape and orange prison jumpsuits. Extreme high and low angles abound, amid all the moody chiaroscuro. A melancholy sax ruminates on the soundtrack while the convoluted plot unfolds via v.o. narration by an antihero with nothing left to lose.

Film starts with the initially unnamed, cynical protag (voiced by Mark Keller, who also provides the jazzy score) recovering consciousness under the Hollywood sign and finding a dead cop lying nearby. The only clues to the lead character’s identity are a cell phone and some keys. When sirens start to howl, he makes a run for it.

Protag’s search for himself encompasses numerous sexual encounters with lusty, duplicitous babes, beginning with a next-door neighbor who sells him out to hired assassins after some steamy lovemaking in the shower. Bedroom action and adult dialogue should earn pic an R rating.

Contempo setting lets the helmers have fun with modern technology, including speed dial, the Internet, and top-of-the-line weaponry. Pop art (particularly the work of Roy Lichtenstein), graphic novels and Japanime are all clear influences. In addition to 3-D animation, the pic also incorporates photos of modern-day L.A. processed with filters and photoshopped, HD-shot backgrounds.

L.A.-based Jones — a pseudonym for Serbian expat Srdjan Penezic, who’s spent 20 years Stateside helming commercials and corporate videos — and S.F.-based producer Miodrag Certic contracted with Risto Topaloski’s Belgrade animation studio Dosije-Awe. Though produced via U.S.-based Easy E Films, the pic is the first feature toon to use animation facilities anywhere in former Yugoslavia.

Production team of 10 young tooners completed the project is only 18 months. Skywalker Sound provided the rich and detailed sound mix. Per Jones, the mix cost as much as the rest of the project, but it’s money well spent.

Many of the pic’s voice cast essay multiple characters, with vet Roger Jackson taking on a record 12, notably a gruff black police detective and an idiosyncratic doctor.

Film Noir

Production: An Easy E Films presentation, in association with RTS, Ministry of Culture Serbia, City of Belgrade, BS Group. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Miodrag Certic. Executive producers, Certic, D. Jud Jones. Co-producers, Miodrag Janjusevic, Oliver Smith, Nikola Zivanovic. Directed by D. Jud Jones, Risto Topaloski. Screenplay, Jones.

Crew: Camera, (B&W/color, DV-to-35mm), Radan Popovic; editor, Namub Elephantine, Andrej Marichich; music, Mark Keller; art director, Raymond Penn; animation director, Topaloski; sound (Dolby Digital); supervising sound editor, Christopher D. Barnett; sound designer, Luke Dunn Gelmuda; lead animators, Jelena Jovanovic, Verica Pajkovski, Ivan Pejkic, Topaloski; animators, Nemanja Gavrilovic, Petar Lalic, Ivan Pesic, Nebojsa Letkovic, Kristijian Hranisavljevic. Reviewed at Motovun Film Festival, Croatia, July 25, 2007. (Also in Annecy, Toronto film festivals.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With: Voices: Mark Keller, Roger Jackson, Elaine Clark, Jeff Atik, Kristina Negrete, Amy Provenzano, Victoria O'Toole.

More Film

  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes' World War I Drama '1917' Set for Awards-Season Launch on Christmas 2019

    Universal Pictures has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 25, 2019, to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1971.” Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand. “1917” will open in limited release on Christmas Day then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. Mendes wrote the script [...]

  • Ventana Sur Queer Latin Film Panel

    Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez 'Absolutely' Wants to Direct Film and Television

    Jennifer Lopez epitomizes the phrase “she’s done it all” — but there’s still more that the superstar would like to do. Lopez recently directed her first music video, “Limitless,” the track featured on her new rom-com “Second Act,” and it seems the multi-hyphenate has caught the directing bug. “Absolutely, absolutely,” Lopez responded when asked by [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    Rian Johnson's Murder Mystery 'Knives Out,' Starring Daniel Craig, Set for Thanksgiving Release

    Lionsgate has bought distribution rights to Daniel Craig’s murder mystery “Knives Out” and set a Thanksgiving release date of Nov. 27. MRC financed “Knives Out,” directed by Rian Johnson — best known for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Lionsgate will also distribute the pic worldwide. The movie came together during the Toronto International Film Festival [...]

  • The favourite Movie

    Olivia Colman to Be Honored by Palm Springs Festival for 'The Favourite'

    “The Favourite” star Olivia Colman will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award by the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The award will be presented by her co-star Emma Stone at the festival’s awards gala on Jan. 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival, now in its 30th year, runs from Jan. 3 to [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Motion Pictures Academy Announces Scientific and Technical Awards

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced nine scientific and technical achievements, represented by 27 individual recipients, to be honored at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation Feb. 9 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. In addition, Curtis Clark will be receiving the John A. Bonner Award for his service [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content