A police raid on a high-society private party leads to the arrest of 42 men. Nineteen are found wearing lavish ball gowns. Among those arrested are key figures from Mexico’s ruling class, including one whose name and presence at the party is promptly erased from the record. The year, 1901. The place, Mexico City. David Pablos’ gorgeous “Dance of the 41″ traces the real-life story of that man: Ignacio de la Torre (played by Alfonso Herrera) the then-son-in-law of Mexican president Porfirio Díaz. He has just married the president’s daughter Amanda (Mabel Cadena) and has been appointed to congress. A great career awaits him. Then he sees Evaristo (Emiliano Zurita giving a heartbreaking performance), a young lawyer, and he is in love. Ignacio initiates Evaristo (or Eva, as he now calls him) 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 astonishingly beautiful even if we have a good idea from all those contorted bodies what is going on. In fact, the opulence of fin de siècle upper class Mexico City is stunningly captured. 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 is the president’s daughter, after all – she will not go quietly, and it is she who initiates the events that will destroy them all. Mabel Cadena is astonishingly good as Amanda. She could be viewed as the archetypal beard – all those women and all that suffering. Rarely, have we seen the destruction of two souls occur with such ferocity, when the powers of nature and society do not concur.
“DANCE OF THE FORTY ONE” IS AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING ON NETFLIX