“Sam once said to me,” Jim Jarmusch recalls in a 1996 documentary on Samuel Fuller, “when you start your script, if the first scene doesn’t give you a hard-on, throw the damn thing away,” counsel given full-blooded embodiment by the films showing at the HFA this June, including The Naked Kiss (1964), Pickup on South Street (1953), and The Crimson Kimono (1959). Each begins with a noirful bang styled after a tabloid broadsheet’s high-strung pop, offset in turn by the gravitas of a secreted dick scouting for truth. Such filmic mannerisms—as flamboyant and lovable as his own—echo Fuller’s professional beginnings in journalism and pulp fiction and invigorate this set of lusty, groundbreaking genre films following troubled outsiders, hyper-clever women and men alike (his heroic antis, if you will), through their urban travails, parsing the interplay of virtue and status, duty and ethics, truth and testimony.
BUFF REVIEW: Sick of Myself (2022) dir. Kristoffer Borgli
A silly satire benefits from a tricky lead performance