Dance of the Forty-One (2020) Film Review

Dance of the Forty One
Ignacio de la Torre was the son in law of Mexico’s president for life and dictator Porfirio Díaz’s. He had a great political career ahead of him, but he was leading a double life with his lover Evaristo.

The police raid a high-society private party and arrest forty-two men. Nineteen are found wearing lavish ball gowns. The arrested include key figures from Mexico’s ruling class, including one whose name and presence at the party is promptly erased from the record. The year is 1901.

Nature vs Society.

“Dance of the 41″ examines the consequences of leading a double life. Writer Monika Revilla and director David Pablos posit that the man in question was Ignacio de la Torre (Alfonso Herrera), the son-in-law of Mexican president for life Porfirio Díaz’s and that he was homosexual. Ignacio is married to the president’s daughter Amanda (Mabel Cadena) and has been appointed to congress. An illustrious career awaits him.

Dance of the Forty One

Evaristo.

However, one night, he meets Evaristo (Emiliano Zurita, in a heartbreaking performance), a young lawyer, and he falls in love. Ignacio arranges for Evaristo (or “Eva” as he calls him) to be initiated into a secret, upper class, gay society called “Socratic Lovers”. Evaristo’s initiation is marked by a bacchanalian orgy which, as filmed by cinematographer Carolina Costa, is both erotic and seductive.

Fin de siècle upper class Mexico City.

The opulence of fin de siècle upper class Mexico City is so well captured by Pablos and Costa that the city gradually becomes the film’s fourth major character. Pablos’ other triumph is giving (almost) equal time to Amanda. Newly married to a husband who had no interest in her, she is desperately unhappy. A proud woman she will not go quietly, and it is she who initiates the events that will destroy them all. She is the archetypal beard. In “Dance of the Forty-One” we witness the destruction of three souls when the forces of nature and norms of society do not line up.

DANCE OF THE FORTY-ONE” IS AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING ON NETFLIX

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