Dance Of The Forty-One

16 May

I remember when the movie Silence Of The Lambs came out in 1991. It starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, who both won Academy Awards and overall best picture. I was probably the only person who found the movie horrifying, I could not watch, averted my eyes and walked out of the theater. I argued with friends who declared it a “great movie”. How could a movie about kidnapping, torture and wearing the skin of a woman be great? Subject matter vs cinematography.

This week I watched a Netflix movie that popped up on my feed, Dance of the Forty-One. In its own way, it was equally hard to watch, but not for the same reason. Dance of the Forty-One is a based-on-reality, Mexican movie by award winning director David Pablos about the repression of gay men in 1901 under the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. To my surprise, it was dubbed well in English not subtitled.

The movie is beautiful and moving. The love scenes are steamy and visceral. It is filmed in Mexico City and Guadalajara and transports the viewer to what Mexico was like in all its elegance and grandeur at the turn of the century. However if you know even a smattering of Mexican history and the cruelty of Porfirio Diez, you know it’s not going to end well.

Lisa and I have lived in Mexico almost eight years. One of our concerns before moving was of course, how we would be treated as a lesbian couple, aka Dos Tortas. While there has been the occasional “are you sisters?” for the most part, we are treated respectfully. One time a waiter was flirting hard with Lisa who of course was clueless. He leaned over and whispered in my ear asking me about her. I declared that she was my esposa. He turned red, sputtered, delivered the check, and disappeared. The more common term in Spanish is partner or pareja, but I was feeling particularly evil that day.

2019 in the Texas bluebonnets.

I don’t kid myself that life for Mexican lesbians is the same as for foreigners. We have friends who are a mixed couple, US’er and Mexican. They have been together many years, attending family functions and living in Bacalar down the street from Sola’s conservative family. Their relationship has never been acknowledged. It is a non-topic, period, end of story. In this case, silence is not golden.

Mexico continues to grow in acceptance and discrimination has been outlawed. Same-sex marriage is legal in all thirty-one states. Gracias to David Pablos for shining a light on a dark time in history. As hard as it is to watch, let’s not avert our eyes this time.


12 Responses to “Dance Of The Forty-One”

  1. rudeinnewyork May 16, 2021 at 8:27 am #


    I’ll look for it online.

    I have a 2nd, HS, grand daughter exploring LBGT idenity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ed Schneider May 16, 2021 at 10:15 am #

    We watched ‘Moffie’ the other night. Definitely one of the most difficult films to watch that we have experienced. It’s set in South Africa during apartheid and revolves around a young man sent for his two year mandatory military service. Not only is the repression of the black people appalling but the protagonist is gay and is attracted to one of the other conscripts. The abuse of the cadets, blacks, and gays was disturbing to say the least and, sadly, probably quite accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 May 16, 2021 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks for your comment. Sometimes it’s hard to watch movies w such violent content. So many are suffering from violence, poverty, judgement, anger and the need to be right. I try to squirrel it out of my own life. Be well, I’ll check it out.


    • afish25 May 16, 2021 at 10:36 am #

      Not available on Netflix in Mexico


      • Ed Schneider May 16, 2021 at 2:47 pm #

        It’s on Apple TV

        Liked by 1 person

      • afish25 May 16, 2021 at 3:26 pm #

        Let me know what you think.


  3. LJones May 16, 2021 at 12:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for this – will watch! Abrazos xo

    From: the adventures of dos tortas Date: Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 6:04 AM To: Lorrie Jones Subject: [New post] Dance Of The Forty-One afish25 posted: ” I remember when the movie Silence Of The Lambs came out in 1991. It starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, who both won Academy Awards and overall best picture. I was probably the only person who found the movie horrifying, I could not watch, averted “

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 May 16, 2021 at 1:01 pm #

      Different movies are available in different countries. Let me know if you get it.


  4. Jack Scott May 17, 2021 at 3:56 am #

    One to watch! In Turkey, we were often asked if we were cousins – yes, kissing cousins. Of course, kissing cousins has a long tradition here in rural Norfolk. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Emilie May 17, 2021 at 7:56 pm #

    I hadn’t heard of the movie. Thanks for letting us know.

    Liked by 1 person

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