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Julia (Rojo) is a phone operator in Mexico City who divides her time between her job, her daughter and the danzon: a cuban dance very popular in Mexico and Central America. Every wednesday Julia does the danzon with Carmelo (Rergis) in the old "Salon Colonia". They've danced for years but barely know each other. One night Carmelo disappears without a trace. Feeling lonely and sad, Julia takes a train to Veracruz, where she knows Carmelo has a brother. That sudden trip will change Julia's life forever.Written by
Maximiliano Maza <email@example.com>
I just saw Danzon at Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery, which was selected as part of the theme for Milestones in Mexican Cinema. It was a wonderful, simple story about a woman who's love of dance forces her to realize her independence.
Danzon director María Rojo stars as Julia Solórzano, a timid working class woman (just to show you the cultural and economic differences between the states and Mexico, it was 1989 when this movie was released, and they were talking about the "modernization plan" and the development of 'long distance telephone'). At night, she and the girls from work go to the popular Mexican night spots and spend the night dancing the Danzón.
When her Danzón partner mysteriously disappears without word (although there are several rumors), she feels completely helpless. Dancing is what she loves to do, and with Carmelo (her dance partner) gone, she falls into a state of disrepair.
Julia takes a trip to Veracruz, where Carmelo was from (this being where the majority of the film takes place), and looks for him. There, she meets several interesting people, and her friendship forces her to rethink things about herself, namely her independence.
Danzón is a wonderful, funny, and simple story, qualities that I had appreciated more after having seen the pretentious Adaptation. There is something about Julia and the townspeople that are so interesting, and so engaging, even though the point is so simplistic. Among the best characters in the film were Carmen Salinas as Doña Tí and Tito Vasconcelos as Susy (Julia's cross dressing friend who is perhaps the funniest character in the whole movie). I recommend seeing it.
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