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Aventurera (1950)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 313 users  
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Left alone after her mother runs off with another man and her father kills himself, Elena attempts to make a new life for herself in a new city. Believing he's a friend, Elena goes to ... See full summary »

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Title: Aventurera (1950)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ninón Sevilla ...
Elena Tejero / Elena Montez
Tito Junco ...
Lucio Sáenz / El Guapo
Andrea Palma ...
Rosaura de Cervera
Rubén Rojo ...
Mario Cervera
Miguel Inclán ...
Rengo
Jorge Mondragón ...
Pacomio Rodríguez
Maruja Grifell ...
Consuelo Tejero, Elena's mother
Luis López Somoza ...
Ricardo Cervera
María Gentil Arcos ...
Petra, Rosaura's maid
Miguel Manzano ...
El Rana
Armando Osório
Pedro Vargas ...
Himself - Singer
Ana María González ...
Herself - Singer
Arturo Soto Urena
Trío Los Panchos ...
Themselves - Music group
Edit

Storyline

Left alone after her mother runs off with another man and her father kills himself, Elena attempts to make a new life for herself in a new city. Believing he's a friend, Elena goes to dinner with "Pretty Boy" Lucio, but he drugs her champagne and sells her to Rosaura, who runs a brothel out of her nightclub. Elena becomes a sensation as a dancer, but all the while she nurtures plans of revenge against those who have conspired against her. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 October 1950 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Maison de rendez-vous  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Cinema de Lágrimas (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

En un Mercado Persa
(dance music)
Choreographed by Ninón Sevilla and Julián de Meriche
Danced by Ninón Sevilla
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Marked Woman
3 June 2014 | by (NY) – See all my reviews

To the surprise of many, the previously flourishing Mexican cinema experienced a brief period of crisis after World War II. According to renowned film historian Eduardo de la Vega Alfaro, film production went down from 82 films in 1945 to only 57 in 1947. Several factors played into this decline, especially the resurgence of film production in Hollywood, which caused U.S.-based producers to begin withdrawing the resources that they had invested in Mexico during the war years. This led Mexican filmmakers to look toward the popular trends in cinema at the time, namely neorealism and film noir, not only to cut costs but also to cater to an increasingly urbanized society, which was now less inclined to support the outmoded, anachronistic values often found in the heretofore dominant cinematic genre, the comedia ranchera, whose success had given birth to the Golden Age.

An eccentric pastiche of musical, melodrama and noir, the cabaretera came to the fore during this period, a genre better suited to reflect the changing mores and values of the era. Though Alberto Gout's Aventurera ("Adventuress") emerged on the scene when the genre had already exhausted its often tawdry and hypocritical story lines, it became immensely popular with both the audiences and the critics alike, partly due to how subversively Gout's employed its conventions. The fact that the film featured the sexy and spirited Cuban-born rumbera, Ninón Sevilla, who was once referred to by Truffaut as "an oblique challenge to bourgeois, Catholic, and all other moralities," certainly did not hurt.

She plays Elena Tejero, who, after experiencing a whirlwind of events that defy synopsizing yet unfold naturally in the context of the film, leaves her hometown of Chihuahua and ends up in the big, bad Ciudad Juárez, where she reacquaints herself with a suave admirer (the ubiquitous Tito Junco) only to be betrayed by him in the worst of fashions. But instead of resigning to her fate like a conventional classical-era Japanese heroine, or, more closely, those often portrayed in the cabaretera, Elena starts fighting back, literally, on a nightly basis, eventually winning her freedom to live and love anew. However, the past and the hypocrisies of society end up catching up with her again, forcing her to renew her mission.

The first in a trilogy of cabareteras Gout made with Sevilla—the others being Sensualidad (1950) and I Don't Deny My Past (1952)—Aventurera not only turns the tables on the generally esteemed figure of the mother in Mexican cinema but it also goes against the grain of the genre to seek some sort of a future for its embattled protagonist. Speaking of whom, Sevilla is as comfortable exchanging sarcastic barbs and more with her high society mother-in-law/pimp (the great Andrea Palma, whose 1934 and 1943 starrers, The Woman of the Port and Distinto amanecer, respectively, could be regarded as key precursors of the cabaretera) as she is shaking her stuff on the over-sized dance floors. While Palma's reaction shots are deliberately designed for maximum legibility (and amusement), Sevilla's acting overall is irresistibly, delightfully expressive. Calling this film "campy" would be as beside the point as calling a Rohmer film "talky."

Exquisitely shot in black-and-white by master DP Alex Phillips, a Canadian transplant who once mentored Gabriel Figueroa, and sporting musical numbers from some of the finest Latino musicians of the period—though most would prefer the dance numbers, I love the somber and subdued theme song, written by Agustín Lara and performed by Pedro Vargas, both musical giants—Aventurera is an exemplary cabaretera and one of the greatest Mexican films of the Golden Age.


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