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Danzon
Danzon
Actor: Victor Carpinteiro; Blanca Guerra; Jorge Martinez; Jorge Moreno; Martha Navarro; María Rojo; Carmen Salinas; Cesar Sobrevals; Tito Vasconcelos; Victor Vasconcelos; Jorge Durán; Javier Molina; Roberto Ortiz; Margarita Isabel; Maria Rojo
Director: Mara Novaro
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2007     2hr 0min

Mexican film legend Maria Rojo stars in this delicately crafted drama as Julia, a single mother employed as a telephone operator. The high point of her week is to relax at the danzon, a weekly dance where dancing partners ...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Victor Carpinteiro; Blanca Guerra; Jorge Martinez; Jorge Moreno; Martha Navarro; María Rojo; Carmen Salinas; Cesar Sobrevals; Tito Vasconcelos; Victor Vasconcelos; Jorge Durán; Javier Molina; Roberto Ortiz; Margarita Isabel; Maria Rojo
Director: Mara Novaro
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Facets
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/27/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1991
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A remarkably evocative and sublime Mexican tale!
Curtis Allan | Seattle, WA | 01/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this DVD as soon as I saw it came available and was not disappointed. On the surface, the story consists of a single middle-aged mother (Maria Rojo) who works as a Mexico City phone operator and enjoys spending her weekends bailando Danzón (a Caribbean sort of ballroom dancing with Franco-Haitian roots from Cuba). One day her dance partner leaves town, throwing her life out of rhythm (some might say into a menopausal crisis), from which she heads off to Veracruz to look for him. That's basically the whole story, but it's what lies beneath which really makes the film special.

Director Maria Novarro was one of the bright stars of Mexico's cinematic revival of the 1990s, which would give rise to the explosion of Novo Cine Mexicana at the end of that decade. Danzón is full of evocative references to great films from Mexico's history, in particular the preclassic The Woman of the Port aka La Mujer del Puerto, and Emilio Fernandez's towering Epoca Dorada classic Salon Mexico [NTSC/REGION 1 & 4 DVD. Import-Latin America] (as well as Victimas del Pecado). Little things like the Russian sailor remind one of the days when Eisenstein, Boytler, and Trotsky spent some of their happiest days in swing era Mexico. But Novarro also evokes the subtly underlying emotion and deep humanism (itself inspired by the films of French poetic realism from the 1930s), which was at the heart of Fernandez's films. Her love for Mexico oozes out though many scenes, despite the very realistic and frequently unattractive picture that it is. That to me is the essence of real Mexican patriotism, and the best antidote to the surprisingly prevalent malinchista strain that persists today in the Mexican psyche.

Maria Rojo is the veritable Mexican everywoman, able to successfully bridge the deep gap between Mexico's two traditional classes and appeal to them both. She is the symbolic personification of the middle class which should be, but never quite is. In real life she has been successful as a free agent, all the more rare in a protected, cronyistic-capitalist system dominated by the low performing "cien familias". We travel with her to Vercaruz, immersing ourselves in real Jarocho culture along the way. To an outsider, Veracruz looks very Indian and Mexican. But to sheltered Mexicans from the altiplano, many who have never seen the ocean or even been to sea level, Veracruz strikes them as more Spanish, caribeño, and open to the outside world. It has a notable Arab community (which gave us Salma Hayek), Gypsies, and some of the very few black Mexicans. Fresh fish, good music, and good coffee add to the list of sights and sensations on display.

The DVD has an annoying unavoidable intro sequence, but other than that it is surprisingly complete. Listed here as full screen, I was happy to see it is certainly letterboxed, albeit in the "family friendly" compromise cut. The image hasn't been cleaned up to perfection but I was happy with it nevertheless. There are optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish, a good director commentary (Spanish only no subtitles), and a pleasant 35-minute "making of" documentary (in Spanish with optional English subtitles only), which complements the film very well.
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