Leaving aside the 'classic masterpiece'/etc talk: a rough, realistic, humanistic and ethnographic depiction of life in the favelas of Mexico city. Great! Yet, I've found the use of music a bit exorbitant - and all this symbolism not really necessary -> such traits are congenital to a whole era of course, but I was born 30 years later so I don't really have to comply with them..
I prefer Buñuel's contributions to surrealism, but there's no denying that his depiction of extreme poverty is excellent. Sexual references mingle with loss of innocence, and the slums are like a different reality altogether. Buñuel himself didn't consider this as a neorealist film, and it's easy to see why, because his film has the kind of cynicism and surreal atmosphere that is lacking from the Italian genre.
Arguably the best film to emerge from the wave of post-war realism...I prefer it to anything I've seen from the Italians at the time. This makes it strange that it comes from one of cinema's most famous surrealists, or maybe not strange at all—it's great because it knows that dreams and irony are a big part of reality. One of Bunuel's best, and it adds a thrilling context to some of his more explicitly arty films.
For some reason I just wasn't that engaged at the beginning of this movie! I definitely got more and more involved as the film went on, and the ending was very brutal and amazing. The dream sequence was perfect and so was the mugging of the blind man. I feel if Buñuel was able to add the surreal imagery and madness he had wanted to, then this film could have been a masterpiece.
An unflinching portrait of poverty, those forced to live in it, and how it effects the young. The non-professional actors are all convincing. The shocking language and violence (for the time) add to the stark realism of the film. That's not to say that it doesn't have it's share of Bunuel's trademark surrealism, but that too is well embedded into the picture - adding more deph without being a stylistic distraction.