40s and 50s film noir is considered the most American of genres, influenced by the hardboiled fiction of Chandler and Hammett and shaped by European emigrants who developed its murky camerawork and narrative style. What is less well known however, is that the same phenomenon took hold in neighbouring Mexico as far back as the early 40s. Alejandro Galindo’s Cuatro contra el mundo, seen as the prototype for Mexican film noir, can now be discovered in a restored version.
Galindo’s unnerving film tells the story of the demise of a gang whose sights are set on a brewery’s money transporter. The raid ends in bloodshed and only four of their unlucky number actually manage to escape. They barricade themselves in the attic apartment of their leader’s girlfriend who had just been packing her bags, her breakup note already on the table. Faced now with a suitcase stuffed full of money, she reconsiders her decision. Here the story takes a turn toward Mexican melodrama: the lady gives her heart to the most stoic and cold of all the gangsters, who is allowed to show his feelings for the first and only time in his life.
Mexico 1950, 99 min
Conchita Gentil Arcos
José Elías Moreno
© Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin