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'Czar of Noir' talks classic movies ahead of festival dedicated to 'artistic movement'

Courtesy of SIFF

Eddie Muller — The Czar of Noir, as described by the Seattle International Film Festival — is taking a break from hosting Turner Classic Movies’ "Noir Alley" to introduce a lineup of films for SIFF’s Noir City festival beginning this weekend. Muller sat down for an interview with KNKX production manager (and resident movie buff) Nick Morrison.

“For our purposes, they’re really crime movies,” Muller said of the genre. “Largely from America, but not exclusively. I always call it Hollywood’s only organic, artistic movement.”

Muller says he considers these films to be more artistic than commercial, because there were no financial motivations behind the existence of the movies. “It was a movement driven entirely by the artists — the writers, the directors, the actors, the cinematographers — they’re the ones who made the decision to make these films, pursue the subject matter and make them look and feel the way they did. It was not something that was driven by the studio bosses or by the public. It was completely art-driven, which is a rarity in Hollywood.”

But, what’s in it for audiences now?

“Stylistically, it never goes out of fashion,” Muller said. “A lot of the politics of the time is reflected in today’s issues, absolutely.”

Listen to their full conversation above, and catch the festival’s featured films today through Feb. 21.