Vagabond Noirs and Tramp Westerns: The Films of Hugo Fregonese at Il Cinema Ritrovato

“Hollywood’s studio era remains a continual goldmine for film historians and cinephiles looking for hidden gems, and Il Cinema Ritrovato has made a habit of yearly rediscoveries of long-forgotten directors whose turn it is be elevated to auteur status. Blunt and direct as the tactic may be — bound to raise even Andrew Sarris’ eyebrows when it comes to framing films exclusively through auteurism — there’s no denying that it’s been successful in the past. This year, the title of the great rediscovered auteur goes to Hugo Fregonese, an Argentina-born director who only made films in Hollywood for a few years amidst a 30-year career.

The Il Cinema Ritrovato strand — evocatively titled “The Drifter’s Escape” and co-curated by Dave Kehr and festival director Ehsan Khoshbakht — surveys a number of Hugo Fregonese’s Hollywood films and others from that run. What emerges is a director drawn to stories of nostalgia, of roaming, of drift and of an inability to find a place to call one’s own. Fregonese’s protagonists are often men on the run, constantly looking over their shoulder, but also fools who don’t realize when they’ve struck gold; the sort of men convinced they ought to look a gift horse in the mouth”.

By Fedor Tot

Read more on Vague Visages website

Still on the subject, take a look at the Fregonese discussion by Il Cinema Ritrovato attendees on Vimeo