Directed by Emilio Fernández and stunningly photographed by the great Gabriel Figueroa, Salón México (1948) is a prime example of Mexico’s cabaretera genre. In their bleak narratives, shadowy visual style, and jaundiced view of a corrupt status quo, these films were roughly equivalent to American film noir. But whereas the Hollywood genre centered on males in trouble, cabareteras focused on women forced by circumstances into prostitution and delivered a fierce critique of machismo. Here, Mercedes (Marga López) works as a dance-hall b-girl to pay for her younger sister’s private school education. When Mercedes takes money owed her by her pimp (Rodolfo Acosta), his retaliation is swift and brutal.
Austin: June 18. Presented by Austin Film Society.