Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

Bleak Street 2015

La calle de la amargura

Directed by Arturo Ripstein Vision

“Veteran auteur and master of the Mexican bizarre, Arturo Ripstein – an influence on a generation of his country’s directors – plunges us into a Mexico City of crime, prostitution and luchador wrestling.” — Film Forum

Mexico / Spain In Spanish with English subtitles
99 minutes B&W / DCP



Walter Navas
Arturo Ripstein


Paz Alicia Garcíadiego


Alejandro Cantú


Arturo Ripstein
Carlos Puente

Production designer

Marisa Pecanins

Costume designer

Laura García de la Mora


Patricia Reyes Spíndola (Adela)
Nora Velázquez (Dora)
Sylvia Pasquel (Doña Epi)
Alejandro Suárez (Max)
Arcelia Ramírez (Zema)
Juan Francisco Longoria (Little Death)
Guillermo López (Little AK)
Erando González (Ornelas)


Toronto 2015


A stranger than fiction true crime story is played out in the labyrinthine alleys of Mexico City slums with a dramatis personae worthy of Fellini: wrestling twin dwarves; two ageing prostitutes; the transvestite husband of one; and the ancient, crippled mother of the other who is dragged onto the streets daily to beg for her keep. Their poverty, lusts and desperation lend animus and vitality to this signature work from the prolific 72-year-old Mexican auteur Arturo Ripstein. Ripstein provides the link between his mentor, cinema’s great surrealist Luis Buñuel, and the current crop of Mexican cineastes who cite him as an exemplary non-conformist and major influence. (His son Gabriel directed last year’s 600 Miles.) “The film is one of Ripstein’s finest, most eerily beautiful explorations of the strange and sad destinies of the down and out, captured in spectral black and white camerawork that floats adrift through the poor places where the sun only enters from very high above… The film brims with black humour, yet it also carries with it a peculiar compassion that is the opposite of sentimentality.” — Josef Braun, The Fantom Country