Dance of the Forty-One (2020) Film Review A-

Dance of the Forty One
Ignacio de la Torre was the son-in-law of Mexico’s president for life, the dictator Porfirio Díaz. He had a great political career ahead of him but 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 detained include critical figures from Mexico’s ruling class, including one whose name and presence at the party are 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 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


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.

Pablos and Costa capture the opulence of fin de siècle upper-class Mexico City so well that the city gradually becomes the film’s fourth central character. Pablos’ other triumph is giving (almost) equal time to Amanda. She is desperately unhappy and newly married to a husband who has no interest in her. A proud woman, she will not quietly initiate the events that 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 the norms of society do not line up.


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