Rosario (Palma) becomes a prostitute after losing her father and discovering her boyfriend had a liaison with another woman. In Veracruz, Rosario lives above a sordid cabaret “selling her love to the men coming from the sea.”
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Not an even film, but the moments of greatness are so great that it can be forgiven. Cabaret melodramas would not surge in popularity until the 50s, but this prototype predicts them even this early one. Boytler and Phillips do a great job with the images and sequences. The funeral scene is more haunting than anything I'd ever seen. A mixture of soviet montage, silent style and surrealism. All wrapped in one.
Like two films pushed together, but still majestically done, with at times radical editing and sound design. It is notable for two reasons: the sheer oppressiveness of masculinity on the lead Rosario (shot with love, like Dietrich in a von Sternberg), and her ultimate, tragic violation. The ferocity of the imagery is only shocking until the final twist, which is so morally disturbing it stuns an audience to silence.