Wednesday, February 4, 2009

El callejon de los milagros

El callejon de los milagros was a very confusing and sad film. It reminded me of Los Olvidados where the whole film revolved around peoples misfortunes in life. As in the movie Mecanica Nacional, the father shows he is the central figure and mistreats his family by mishandling his son Chava and also his wife Eusebia, whom he verbally and physically attacked after she confronts him about the affair, but then shows his weak side as he cries for his son on her lap after he runs away.

It can be mentioned that the men were depicted as being machismo as they treated the women in their lives and women in general like trash, such as Don Ru who cheats on his wife ,the jeweler Don Fidel to Alma as he tries to marry her, Jose Luis to Alma as he forces her into prostitution, Chava to the landlady, Susanita, for taking her money, Chava to his own wife as he attempts to pick up Alma’s friend right in front of her, the husband Guicho to Susanita for marrying her for the money as he steals from her, and even Alma herself to Abel as she misleads him. It seems everyone attempted to screw each-other over as scandals broke out everywhere. The director seems to have attempted to make a soap opera (like tres destinos) in a film format and made it in a way to serve the appetite of popular culture that are intrigued by the exaggerated and scandalous plots and story lines. The issue of classes and self-worth was a central theme as the mainly lower-middle class characters in this film believed that wealth was important to attain for the purpose of both living well off and also having social status in society as in the case of Alma.

What I found to be quite profound was the very end of the movie. One could sense that Alma did not truly love Abel and that she was misleading him the whole way. She lied when she said that she had waited for him, as she almost got married right after he left and went into prostitution at her own free will. She was promised a good life and was lied to by Jose Luis. It seems that only true person who was loyal was Abel for not breaking his promise but he ends up broken hearted and dead. I think that the director wanted to show that both sexes, not just men, can treat each with just as much disregard.


  1. I agree that there was a certain disregard for gender discrepancies in this film. while it was blatantly shown in the homosexuality exhibited by Rutilio, it was implied in Alma's forward character in her relationship with Abel with the aid of Maru.
    This hibridity does then lead to a acceptance of a kind of female machismo we hadn't yet seen in any other movies in which the women do not just yell passionately but are more forward with their actions, whether they be violent or not.
    though it is never made clear, it can be guessed that the two criminals were eventually arrested because of the woman who threatened to turn him in.
    While this in isolation could be seen as a championing of woman's role in a male dominant world, I agree that the director is making a point to show the certain streak of violence which lies beneathe the actions of these women. But maybe they have just coome to believe that such is the only way to accomplish anything in el callejon...

  2. It is interesting what you point out about women being able to have as much disregard for men as men do for women. This definitely is illustrated in Alma. It is in a way both disappointing (we are not used to seeing women that way, from the other films) and refreshing (in a way it suggests independence for women, which is lacking in the other films).