EAT MY SHORTS: The Noir World of Serena Bramble

We recently stumbled upon a brilliant video essay.

San Francisco: Scene of the Perfect Crime

A tribute to the delicious, sinful crime films set in San Francisco.

We wanted to know who the maker was, and we found her. Serena Bramble is a discovery. She has also created shorts for Noir City and we are pleased to bring them to you as the 2016 edition of the popular festival launches.

It’s a Bitter Little World

“A fine cut of the opening montage I made for Noir City. January, 2014. The theme was International Noir.”

Till Death Due Us Part

Serena Bramble’s cinematic overture to NOIR CITY 13, the San Francisco Film Noir Festival, presented by the Film Noir Foundation and featuring 25 cinematic samplings of Unholy Matrimony, January, 2015.

The Endless Night: A Valentine to Film Noir

Serena writes:

“After many long hours, this is my tribute to my favorite genre, to the dark shadows and the profound despair of the soul. I tried to include as many as I could get my hands on, though there are obviously some that I overlooked, some accidently (the absence of The Sweet Smell of Success and White Heat are the most obvious and shameful), some purposefully (save Sam Fuller’s 1964 pulp masterpiece The Naked Kiss, I decided to stay strictly within the 18-year period between 1940 and 1958, so absolutely no neo-noirs like Chinatown, and even more importantly, absolutely no colors).

Song: “Angel” by Massive Attack

“This video is dedicated to two awesome women: The first is my friend Cecilia Ossenbeck, my partner in crime in the adventures of cinema. The second is to noir icon Ann Savage … .”

And now, the noirs in this short:

  • The Letter (1940, William Wyler. Bette Davis)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941, John Huston. Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor) [You may view and pose for a selfie with one of the studio’s original Maltese Falcon statues in the Flood Building, 870 Market Street, San Francisco, which was Dashiell Hammett’s office when he was a Pinkerton Operative.]
  • Shadow of a Doubt (1943, Alfred Hitchcock. Joseph Cotten)
  • Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder. Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray)
  • Murder, My Sweet (1944, Edward Dmytryk. Dick Powell)
  • Scarlet Street (1945, Fritz Lang. Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett)
  • Laura (1945, Otto Preminger. Gene Tierney)
  • Detour (1945, Edgar G. Ulhmer. Ann Savage)
  • Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock. Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman)
  • Gilda (1946, Charles Vidor. Rita Hayworth)
  • The Killers (1946, Robert Siodmak. Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster)
  • The Big Sleep (1946, Howard Hawks. Humphrey Bogart)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, Tay Garnett. John Garfield, Lana Turner)
  • The Lady From Shanghai (1947, Orson Welles. Rita Hayworth, Welles)
  • Out of the Past (1947, Jacques Tourneur. Jane Greer, Robert Mitchum)
  • Brute Force (1947, Jules Dassin. Burt Lancaster)
  • Force of Evil (1948, Abraham Polonsky. John Garfield, Marie Windsor)
  • The Set-Up (1949, Robert Wise. Robert Ryan)
  • The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed. Orson Welles)
  • Criss Cross (1949, Robert Siodmak. Burt Lancaster, Yvonne de Carlo)
  • Gun Crazy (1950, Joseph H. Lewis. John Dall, Peggy Cummins)
  • In a Lonely Place (1950, Nicholas Ray. Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame)
  • The Asphalt Jungle (1950, John Huston. Sterling Hayden)
  • Night and the City (1950, Jules Dassin. Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney)
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder. Gloria Swanson, William Holden)
  • Ace in the Hole (1951, Billy Wilder. Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling)
  • Angel Face (1952, Otto Preminger. Jean Simmons)
  • Pickup on South Street(1953, Samuel Fuller. Richard Widmark)
  • The Big Heat (1953, Fritz Lang. Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin)
  • Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Robert Aldrich. Gaby Rodgers)
  • Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton. Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish)
  • The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick. Sterling Hayden)
  • Elevator to the Gallows (1958, Louis Malle. Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet)
  • Touch of Evil (1958, Orson Welles)
  • The Naked Kiss (1964, Samuel Fuller. Constance Towers)

“If this should be deleted for copyright infringement (this is for recreational use only, not for profit; all film clips and the music by Massive Attack belong to their respective copyright holders), I’ve had a hell of a time doing it. And just in case I glorified violence and smoking a bit too much, as a semi-pacifist, nonsmoking woman, I can only quote Samuel Fuller: “I hate violence. That has never prevented me from using it in my films.”

Serena Bramble on Making Video Essays Matter on a panel at  Independent Film Festival Boston Film Summit. In this video, Serena Bramble shares her journey into filmmaking through her breakthrough video Endless Night: A Valentine to Film Noir. She demonstrates how video essays teach principles of filmmaking more effectively than the textbooks she studied as a film student.

serena-bVisit Serena Bramble’s Vimeo channel for a wide variety of her films.

Serena Bramble is a film editor whose montage skills are an end result of accumulated years of movie-watching and loving. Serena is a graduate of the Teledramatic Arts and Technology department at Cal State Monterey Bay. In addition to editing, she also writes on her blog Brief Encounters of the Cinematic Kind.

She writes for Sense of Cinema about In a Lonely Place, showing at Noir City 2016 in San Francisco.

Through a Camera Lense, Noirly: Reflections on Gloria Grahame.

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