DCP, rewatched. 3,5. When i saw this film, inserted in Buñuel's retrospective at the Cinemateca in 1982, by comparison with other films of his Mexican phase, it seemed (along with others) to be a very banal example of his art, although perfectly integrated in the respective film industry. It seemed much more to me now, especially for the "sharp sharpness" (like this, pleonasticly) with which the fiction is resolved.
In his best he begins with beating me to shards, then, when I'm vulnerable, he grabs a hold of me by the throat and lets the merciless blaze of his "stare" permeate my blood and soul... The most muscular filmmaker, but no "brute". Bunuel knows exactly when and where to use force.
It's interesting to see how dynamic the portability of noir can be, as Buñuel's social drama, whether intentional or not, is constructed in and substantiated by an affectation of its mode, from the femme fatale to the destruction of the guileless brute. A rather categorical study of consequences, though, from a director whose strength is not in assurances.
One of those middle-period Buñuel films that relativizes absolute distinctions between major and minor works of an auteur. Suffused with materialist ontology, sharp characterization, particularly of the poor and destitute who expectedly for Buñuel are deprived of sainthood, it is rich in symbolism about human animality and passions. It orchestrates an amoral universe as derelict as the house about to be vacated.
It's great that Mubi is showcasing this amazingly original period of Buñel's production: his critical showcase of Mexican verité, a negative reflection of the white-washed pretty flicks of the time. With a young Pedro Armendariz!
The story is rather simple, it does serve it's purpose though, not bad at all. Unfortunately characters are flat, almost cartoonish, and the plot very predictable. Excellent opportunity to experience early 50's Mexico!