Murder mystery writer introduces murder mystery film to murder mystery fans at this year’s St. Louis Jewish Film Festival.
The writer is me.
The film is Fire Birds.
And if you’re a fan of the noire mystery movie–a rich tradition that dates back to such classics as The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man while forever reinventing itself in neo-noire gems that include Chinatown, Blade Runner, and Blood Simple–then come join us for the screening of this remarkable Israeli film at 2 p.m. on June 7 at the Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema. I will provide a short introduction before the film’s showing.
As with so many noire murder mysteries, our hero in Fire Birds is a down-on-his-luck detective faced with solving a vexing crime. Specifically, an 80-year-old man’s body is found floating in the river with three stab wounds to the chest and a number tattooed along his forearm. The case is assigned to Amnon, an Israeli police detective and second generation Holocaust survivor who has returned to duty after a lengthy suspension. Living apart from his wife and daughter, he struggles to bring the unwanted case to a quick close.
The investigation leads Amnon to a tattoo parlor and a club of Holocaust survivors with a zest for life who seek solace in romantic recollections of their pre-war world. In the weeks leading up to his death, the victim sought, in the words of one character, a “membership card to the most horrible club in the world”: the club of Holocaust survivors.
As the story interweaves past and present, we witness the struggle of each man–the detective and the victim–to rejoin the society which rejected him.