An exploration of homophobia and machismo in Latin America through the bittersweet story of La Manuela, a transvestite who lives in a brothel run by his daughter. Wearing his favorite red flamenco dress, La Manuela steps i... more »n to defend his daughter's honor when she is threatened by a macho truck driver... The DVD features include: a souvenir booklet; interactive menus; scene access; filmographies; awards; production notes.« less
""El Lugar Sin Límites" es una adaptación de la novela homónima de José Donoso. La historia nos sitúa en un pequeño pueblo de la provincia mexicana. La unica diversión que sus habitantes conocen es el burdel local en donde vive la Manuela (Roberto Covo), un travesti. La Manuela tiene una hija, la Japonesita (Ana Martin) y su madre es la Japonesa (Lucha Villa). Gonzalo Vega interpreta a un jornalero mediocre, pero muy macho, que asedia a la Japonesita. Tiempo atrás el tubo un conflicto con la Manuela y viene para "darle en la madre". Partiendo de una cita de "Fausto", que proviene del libro; Ripstein desenreda una historia llena de metáforas biblicas en donde los temas centrales son el infierno y la culpa. El filme constituye una desmitificación total del machismo mexicano que termina demostrando sus tendencias homosexuales. La producción es magnífica, cuenta con una ambientación excepcional y una fotografía que revela los detalles y caracteres de la miseria rural."
'FLAMING FLAMENCO FRACAS'
(3 out of 5 stars)
"ROBERTO COBO [a striking resemblance to the late Jean Louis Barrault] brings much sympathy to this role of Transvestite/prostitute Manuel/Manuela, owner of one of those seedy little brothels housed in a 'touch of evil' town, somewhere south of the border....His daughter, Ana Martin [no heart of gold there, an earthy performance], fathered during a moment of confusion, has followed in her father's steps [the prostitute bit], and is now terrorised by the return of Pancho, a macho truck driver [a lost Steinbeck character, they are all quite close to their American cousins ["East of Eden" country]give or take a few changes]. During the course of events, we learn that the village is about to be sold by the ruthless landlord [owner?], Manuel's daughter still has "something" to resolve with Pancho, which may be dangerous, SO Manuel/Manuela intervenes, dons the red dress, previously ripped by the same Pancho, and somewhat reluctantly decides to follow this fandango of fate ........Gonzalo Vega is perhaps too attractive as Pancho, but he does bring great sensitivity and sympathy to this confused character, AND HE does cry! There is room for a sequel, and there should be - male mistique being what it is.....Arturo Ripstein's vision is straight-forward, no frills, simple and effective. Grand use of color, the red truck, red flamenco dress, etc. Good DVD transfer, sub-titles are clear, the sound, not surround though, is good - especially Ripstein's choice of scratchy music. Great opening sequence with the red truck blazing appropriate music - an Orpheus returning to a somewhat soiled Euridice in the Underworld.No, it's not "La Cage Aux Folles" or "Victor/Victoria" it's closer to Fellini's early gritty work, not Genet [we are spared that degree of realism, this version is really quite PG] it's closer to "Torch Song Trilogy".Other companion pieces of despair? Try Almodovar's "Law of Desire"."
Ripstein's best movie EVER! (IMHO)
L.Fyfe (firstname.lastname@example.org) | England | 11/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first movie by Ripstein I ever saw and although it's obviously low-budget and looks dank and dull, I loved the way the story and acting work together to examine the destructive effects of paternalistic power in a small community. The main actors - 'Manuela' and 'Pancho' - work miracles. The actor who played Manuela particularly is incredible at portraying a lack-lustre, down-at-heel transvestite/brothel madam in such a way as you identify with her and see her particular beauty clearly. I don't know why he didn't work in more movies, but... that's life! The inevitable violence of the end leaves you gutted and, more incredibly, understanding what the forces were that led each person to act as they do; you see the true tragedy as not down to individual blame, but social forces working through people, locking them into insane courses of action. Watch this, if you can get it..."
Rated #9 Mexican film Ever by Magazine SOMOS in 1994
Curtis Allan | Seattle, WA | 07/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Arturo Ripstein Rosen is a Jewish Mexican director of some repute abroad. His closest American comparison would probably be Woody Allen. He is a favorite of the arthouse crowd at Cannes and elsewhere. Ripstein has made a career out of directing small films which are consumed locally and exported primarily to Europe. El Lugar Sin Limites (1978) is widely considered to be his most classic work.
I admit I put off watching this film for some time, and only watched it as "homework". I am more of an epic/biography fan. Given that, I was pleasantly surprised by El Lugar Sin Limites. It's certainly an "art" movie, but it moves along quite well enough thru its 110 minute run time. It also has a lot of familiar faces to anyone who has watched much Mexican TV or films, bridging actors from la epoca dorada with current televisa regulars. In the lead, Roberto Cobo gives an excellent performance. You'll remember him as the boy lover from Bunuel's Los Olvidados (1950). He also appeared in Cabeza de Vaca as Loyoza (1991). Carmen Salinas, the Jerry Springer of Mexican TV, gives a good performance as a pudgy prostitute. Remarkably, she looks almost the same age in 1978 as she does now (born in 1933). The actors who portray La Japonesita, Pancho, & Octavio are all regular novela players now. And Fernando Soler as Don Alejo was one of four brothers who were in many Mexican epoca dorada films. Probably the best part of El Lugar Sin Limites is its poignancy: it's a biting critique of the hypocrisy of rural Mexican machismo culture. In that sense it's a nice companion piece to its contemporaneous Mexican classic Canoa (1975). The film's closing scenes pay a kind of homage to the epoca dorada style not unlike the retro noir tribute of Polanski's Chinatown a few years prior. But its frank dealing with homosexuality is decades ahead of its time; consider that Hollywood didn't really deal with homosexual topics in force until Philadelphia (1993) or Boys Don't Cry (1999), and neither of those films offered a full powered man-on-man kiss like this!
My recommendation: for fans of Mexican or gay cinema, this is certainly a must own; for others, if you have an interest in expanding your horizons you could do a lot worse than this film. Regarding the DVD: the image quality is OK but it would have been nice if it had optional subtitles and in Spanish as well. No extras but still a great pick up at this reasonable price.
Excellent Mexican Movie.....and Funny!
L.Fyfe (email@example.com) | 05/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the pionner mexican movies that talk openly about gay and machismo in latin Amercian. "La Manuela" is a great character and the whole store revolves around her. This one of the few movies that has really caputer most of the gay characteristics. I really recommend it. You will love it!"