Bleak Street

Bleak Street ★★★½

Well, that certainly lived up to the title! This wheezing, curdled melodrama from Mexican auteur Ripstein kicks the rotting corpse of his country's cinematic golden age. Set in the vilest of slums, the film recounts a true-crime story in which two midget luchadores are drugged by two aging prostitues. Through its slow crawl though the gutter, Ripstein's black-and-white photography captures a system of exploitation that only encourages further exploitation. Moments of sad sisterhood, proud brotherhood and ersatz motherhood hint at how they all cope. Like film noir, with all of the thrills bled out.