First and foremost, I want to say that I really enjoyed this movie. I really liked the multiple narrative layers which tells the same story through different perspectives which in the end intertwine and be come one story. Like the callejon in which they live and live different lives, the narrative funnels into a shared space. One thread which I think strongly connects the different narratives is the aspect of victimization. Even though athey work for respect and to be different from those who allowed themselves to fall by the wayside, they all end up becoming victims.
In the first narrative, Rutilio's son allows his father's indecency to push him to violence which later condemns everyone around him. He leaves without dealing with the consequences and overestimates these consequences so that his leaving only harms. It's intereseting to me to see how quick he is to act as if his violent act on the young man was actually an attack on himself. It's somewhat representative of his state of mind which allows him to perpetually believe that he is a victim.
This same victim mentality is seen in the next narrative of Alma. Even though she presents characteristics of an independent young woman, her mentatlity of being a helpless victim leads to her domination by others. First, she feels she is somewhat less of a person for being a virgin, and so she decides to date the young man who is really quite in love with her. She acts clueless to what she is doing as if she weren't victimizing herself. I think she represents a kind of girl who thinks everyone is out to harm her, and so harms herself before they can. She represents a learned helplessness which she uses to never have to work hard to break the bindings which hold her back. Though she speaks of passion, she likes the comfort of the box she is put into as a lower class Mexican girl. It is with this belief that she agrees to marry the older man she doesn't know and later agrees to become a prostitute. I think her role in the movie is to demise our belief of such personalities as being of social causation because in her we see a desire to be pitied unlike that of her boyfriend that went to Houston or even her girlfriend Maru.
EVentually, the boy that went to Houston allowed this victim allure to grab a hold of him too. He goes to the brothel with no real plan of murdering Jose Luis, but really only cuts his face and is thus killed himself. Though we don't know if he meant to cut his throat, I think what's important is that he knew he would be wounded for his actions. Again, I feel as if they see a certain safety in being deceived, murdered or abandoned.