I don’t think this is a good film, but it is well-done. It is so elementary in what it depicts, and so clean in how it goes about telling it. Part of the reason why is that stories like this one are so real, that they simply tell themselves.
But this is not a movie you want to show to someone you love. Unless you wanna drag them into forced empathy which would defeat genuine love.
No this is a dark world, and it insists upon itself. I would take the exercise more openly if it was something like ‘Funny Games’ where the world is dark but layered on collective expectations. But this here directly reflects on reality. We are supposed to watch this and damn our very nature.
Throughout, we have some wonderful images of the slums of Mexico, and a display of that spontaneous energy so inherent in Latin Americans. You can’t call this ‘acting’, it is how they act. I know, I have that same spirit.
And there is also a blind character who is of interest here. Part of the plot is about not being seen, being forgotten (olvidados in spanish). But he is a sort of ‘seer’. He has an assistant whose nickname is “Lil’ Eyes”. He was ‘forgotten’ by his father at the public market (get it?) so the blind man took him under his wing. I think this is Bunuel’s surrogate. The scene where he is assaulted reminds me of the scene in Clockwork Orange where they attack the writer on the street. He is also a kind of artist, a musician, and the young thugs break his instruments.
But trust this, he didn’t care about these kids. And I suspect Bunuel didn’t either.
So why should you care about this movie?