LOS TALLOS AMARGOS (1956)

Film noir heads south of the border in this little-seen Argentine film about a reporter (Carlos Cores) caught up in fraud with a Hungarian expatriate (Vassili Lambrinos). Their bogus journalism correspondence school is soon making them rich, but Corres begins to question his partner’s motives and the future of the scam. Journalist Adolfo Jasca’s novel caught the attention of Fernando Ayala, one of Argentina’s leading directors, who then mined the world of post- Peronist Argentina to unearth all the elements of a classic film noir—paranoia, moral relativism and stark contrasts between light and shadow. In the latter area, he was helped greatly by the work of cinematographer Ricardo Younis, who had studied with Gregg Toland, the man who filmed Citizen Kane (1941). Although Los Tallos Amargos has been little seen outside of Argentina, his work was hailed by American Cinematographer, which called the film one of the best photographed of all time. Despite winning Black Condors, the Argentine Oscar, for Best Picture and Best Director, LOS TALLOS AMARGOS was considered a lost film until it turned up in private collection in 2014. The UCLA Film & Television Archive restored the film with funding from the Film Noir Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

(d. Fernando Ayala, 90m, 35mm)