Bleak Street

WINNER: Best Director, Gijón International Film Festival

“Cantu captures the bleak streets of the title in long, gracefully choreographed shots that create an entire world out of light, shadows and textures.” - The Hollywood Reporter

There is Death and then there is Little Death (Juan Francisco Longoria), AK47 and Little AK (Guillermo López). Little Death and Little AK are miniluchadores, or midget wrestlers, diminutive sidekicks to their conventionally sized counterparts. They are identical twins, not that you’d ever be able to confirm this since neither allows himself to be seen by anyone unmasked. Underpaid and shamelessly exploited men, Little Death and Little AK are in a sense the mascots of the marginalized.

More than any living director, Ripstein has taken up the mantle of his friend and early mentor Luis Buñuel. Like those characters in Buñuel’s Mexico City-set landmark Los olvidados (1950), the denizens of Bleak Street are damned by immovable class barriers and a cruelty that circulates not only from the top down but from within their own ranks. Bleak Street’s insistent humour, oneiric slippage, and stylistic mischief all recall Buñuel. They also represent the aggregate of much of what’s best in Ripstein’s oeuvre.