This year–the Southeast European Film Festival has chosen as its closing night film "Buzz," a film about a legendary Hollywood scriptwriter of Armenian-Greek descent. The closing night event–during which the film about Albert Isaac "Buzz" Bezzerides will be screened–will take place at 7:30 PM on Wednesday–May 24 at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills.
"Buzz" is a memorable–absorbing–and illuminating profile of the legendary Hollywood scriptwriter (and acclaimed novelist) Bezzerides–whose most notable credits include Robert Aldrich’s "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955)–Jules Dassin’s "Thieves’ Highway" (1942)–and Raoul Walsh’s "They Drive By Night" (1940).
Bezzerides is known as "The King of Noir"–in fact–Franois Truffaut–an authority on film noir–considered the Bezzerides-scripted "Juke Girl" (1942) to be America’s first real film noir.
"Buzz" traces Bezzerides’ arrival in the US and pre-Hollywood existence. Born in 1908 in the Black Sea city of Samsun in the Ottoman Empire–Bezzerides fled to the US with his family on the eve of the Genocide. His Armenian mother and Greek father settled in Fresno–California where Bezzerides grew up in the Armenian community. The fruit truckers of Fresno and the community in which he grew up provided him with much of the material for his novels and screenplays.
As a screenwriter–Bezzerides had a fascinating career. "Graylisted" during the McCarthy era–he was one of many talents to suffer from the industrial-style practices of Hollywood at the time–where writers were regarded as being at the bottom of the food chain and frequently denied screen credits.
Bezzerides himself is now well into his tenth decade–but as evidenced by director Spiro N. Taraviras’s loving tribute he has not lost his famous zip and joie de vivre.
Interviewed for the film between 1999 and 2002–Bezzerides proves enormously engaging company as he takes an idiosyncratic tour down memory lane. Anecdotes abound–featuring the likes of William Faulkner (with whom Bezzerides had a particularly strong–mutually-beneficial relationship)–Marilyn Monroe–Ronald Reagan–Humphrey Bogart–Robert Mitchum–and many more.
The film has won several awards including the Greek Film Critics Association Award for Best Film of the Year (2005) and the Greek State Film Award for Best Feature Documentary Film awarded by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (2005).
For more information about the festival or to purchase tickets to see the film–call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.seefilmla.org.
Fine Arts Theatre–Beverly Hills
8556 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills–CA 90211