Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA) will present a matinee screening of the critically acclaimed 1956 classic Argentine film Los Tallos Amargos (The Bitter Stems) on June 8, 2019, at the historic The Million Dollar Theatre in DTLA, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats film series.
The movie, which will be shown as a newly restored print from the UCLA Film & Television Archive, is a noir tale of paranoia, shot in stark expressionist images. Los Tallos Amargos received the Argentine Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture and cemented the career of its director, Fernando Ayala, who is now considered one of the most admired filmmakers of his generation. The evening will be hosted by Guido Segal, and special guest Alan Rode, who was involved in the restoration of the film, will also attend and speak at the screening.
Los Tallos Amargos, Fernando Ayala’s second feature, is an adaptation of Adolfo Jasca’s award-winning novel of the same title about a journalist who teams up with a European immigrant to create a fake journalism correspondence school, only to become increasingly suspicious of his business partner. The film includes Astor Piazzolla’s groundbreaking score, Germen Gelpi and Mario Vanarelli’s production design, and Ricardo Younis’ inventive cinematography, which was included in the “Best Shot Films” list published in American Cinematographer. Los Tallos Amargos belongs to the visual style we now call noir – a term coined by French critics to describe the style and content of American crime films made in the forties and fifties.
The film was hiding in private collector’s home in Buenos Aires, when Fernando Martín Peña, an Argentine film historian and curator at MALBA – Museo de Arte Latino Americano de Buenos Aires – arranged with Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation to have it restored. With the foundation providing the funds and the UCLA Film & Television Archive doing the lab work, the film got an unexpected new life in 2016, when, among other U.S. screenings, it became part of a six-film series at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City called “Death Is My Dance Partner: Film Noir in Postwar Argentina”. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also contributed to its restoration.
Los Tallos Amargos is 88 minutes long, in Spanish with English subtitles. It will be screened June 8, 2019, at 2 pm, at The Million Dollar Theatre, 307 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Tickets can be purchased here.