Already assistant on Buñuel's El ángel exterminador (1962) at the age of 19, Arturo Ripstein is still able to surprise, and even astonish, almost sixty years later. Shooting in stunning black-and-white, he focuses on sexual, psychological and geriatric entanglements within the private quarters of an elderly married couple, played fabulously and without any inhibition by Alejandro Suárez ('El Viejo') and Sylvia Pasquel (Beatriz). Giménez Castro as Beatriz's tango partner and Cervantes as the servant are equally impressive. After decades of spitefulness, the retired pharmacist and his wife seem to know one another inside out – but this doesn't prevent further escalation and infidelity.
Where lesser directors may lose their way with this delicate subject matter, Ripstein boldly goes where others shy away, and is completely in control for the full running time. The interaction between active libido and aging, floundering flesh leads to an occasionally hilarious, uncomfortable but also poignant masterpiece.