I saw this film for the first time, on television in New York City, back in 1964. I was so moved by the experience, that I kept watch for it in a rerun theater (before VCR's), so that I could view it without the edits for television.
Finally, two years later, I found it showing in an art theater in Greenwich Village. That was the last time I did see this humble masterpiece. And after 37 years, the images of this little film still resonate within my psyche.
It was the simply told, well acted story of a Puerto Rican family who emigrate from their homeland, to New York City, in search of a better life. In their innocence, what they obtain is a run-down ghetto apartment where they are outnumbered by the roaches and rats. And where, one by one, starting with the father, then the teenage daughter, then the son and finally the mother, they are swallowed up in the smoldering melting pot that was late 50's to early 60's New York City.
Each one is, at some point in their earnest quest to survive, humiliated, debased (both socially and sexually) and, finally, for two of them, led to death as the only salvation from the nightmare they have found themselves trapped in.
It is a moving film that every American should see, at least once, to gain a broader understanding of the Hispanic experience in America; long before the coming of the likes and fame of Jenifer Lopez could be achieved.
Trust me, you will be moved and you won't forget the experience.
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