In ‘Danzon,’ a Dancer Looks for Her Missing Partner and Finds Friendships Instead

Written and directed by María Novaro and co-written by her sister Beatriz, Danzón tells the story of Julia as she searches for her missing dance partner. It’s a beautiful story of a woman’s friendships, her wants and dreams, and her love for the Cuban dance danzón. (AEL: 4/5)

Review by FF2 Contributing Editor Amelie Lasker

The film opens in a scene that is central to the lives of its participants: at the club, where they come to dance the danzón every week. Governing the playful atmosphere is a fraught set of social rules by which friendships have codes with which self-worth is determined, especially women. In a community dynamic where women have little agency in their romantic relationships, where gender interactions are often disempowering and even demeaning, the danzón is where women seek to find meaning in those relationships and take back their joy and self-expression. A dance partnership can be more genuine and significant than a marriage. One of the women jokes, “Maybe I’ll find a partner just for dancing and nothing else.”

When we meet protagonist “Julia” (María Rojo), she is without a dance partner. Her longtime partner “Carmelo” has stopped showing up. A friend suggests that he could be married, or he could have taken off. Although they’ve been dance partners for over a decade, Julia doesn’t know anything about Carmelo’s personal life or the state of their relationship. She doesn’t even know if their involvement is romantic at all, though she sees it that way. Asking around, Julia finds out that Carmelo was falsely accused of a crime, and he ran away to a seaside town—though his name has since been cleared.

So Julia follows after Carmelo, hoping to tell him it’s safe to come home; and, probably, to fill her need for the validation of that romantic gesture, or even just to feel like she’s taking agency over something in her romantic life.

I’m not spoiling anything by saying that Julia is searching for a long time. I love this movie for this long limbo period, for the wonderful people she meets on her search and the wise and comforting observations they make. “Doña Ti” (Carmen Salinas), the owner of the hotel where Julia stays, quickly recognizes that Julia is distraught and helps her search. Perceptively, she recognizes that Julia needs a supportive base more than anything. Julia is looking for a safety net, but in the process, she discovers over and over that there are people to take care of her everywhere. And she can take care of them, too.

This movie captures subtle images of womanhood, sometimes beautifully and sometimes painfully. Many times, Julia and her friends endure catcalls and stares. Julia is so used to it that she doesn’t react. It’s almost hard to notice it’s happening, unless you’ve had the common experience of women and female-presenting people that has made you wary of those kinds of stares. It’s a powerful choice by the filmmaker to stage and include this, adding a heartbreaking, vulnerable layer to Julia’s journey.

In another recurring image of womanhood, we see communities of women crop up everywhere. Julia picks up her daughter from a class, surrounded by watchful mothers and daughters. In the street by the hotel, where Julia and the hotel owner sit and chat, an intergenerational mix of women moves in the background, going about their daily lives. When one needs a favor or advice, others quickly come to her.

The film critiques exclusive notions of womanhood as well. A close friend Julia meets, “Susy” (Tito Vasconcelos), is trans. When Julia teaches her the danzón, Susy asks if she can dance the woman’s part. At first, Julia refuses, explaining that Susy is taller, so she needs to dance the man’s part. But finally, they try it, and Julia takes the male role. At that moment, they’re dancing together tenderly, each feeling freer in her own way. Julia’s— and the film’s— definition of gender is softened and expanded.

Danzón is a Cuban style of music and dance. The soundtrack lends the film a feeling of joy and celebration. And although this is a tragic story, not a dance movie, the danzón as a theme feels like Julia reclaiming her joy.

© Amelie Lasker (12/16/20) FF2 Media

Featured Photo: María Rojo as “Julia.”

Middle Photo: Tito Vasconcelos as “Susy.”

Bottom Photo: Víctor Carpinteiro as “Rubén.”

Photo Credits: Edgar Ladrón de Guevara.

Q: Does Danzon pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?

Yes!

So many of this film’s characters are women. Often the women’s most profound or most difficult conversations are about the roles they play for men—but they question these roles, seeking and finding the selves they obscure.

Tags: FF2 Media, Turner Classic Movies, Women Make Film

Related Posts

by
Amelie Lasker joined FF2 Media in early 2016 after graduating from Columbia University where she studied English and history. She has written plays and had readings for Columbia’s student-written theatre company Nomads, edited the blog for Columbia’s film journal Double Exposure, and worked on film crews and participated in workshops at Columbia University Film Productions. She spent junior year abroad at Cambridge University, where she had many opportunities for student playwrights to see their work produced. 
Previous Post Next Post

Comments

  1. Pingback: ivermectin 3mg for lice

  2. Pingback: Anonymous

  3. Pingback: stromectol price

  4. Pingback: buy ivermectin online

  5. Pingback: buy ivermectin online

  6. Pingback: ivermectin for humans

  7. Pingback: frontline critical care alliance

  8. Pingback: ivermectin tablets

  9. Pingback: viagra buy safe

  10. Pingback: where can i buy ivectermin

  11. Pingback: is ignition casino owned by bovada

  12. Pingback: where to buy ivermectin

  13. Pingback: cialis kaufen

  14. Pingback: cialis online pharmacy

  15. Pingback: buy prednisone 10mg pills

  16. Pingback: cialis by mail

  17. Pingback: buy generic tadalafil

  18. Pingback: cialis usa

  19. Pingback: provigil comprar online

  20. Pingback: provigil comprar online

  21. Pingback: stromectol for humans

  22. Pingback: cialis dosis

  23. Pingback: cialis price walmart

  24. Pingback: tadalalafilaquest

  25. Pingback: stromectol price uk

  26. Pingback: cvs viagra

  27. Pingback: cialis best price

  28. Pingback: generic viagra images

  29. Pingback: cost of generic lasix

  30. Pingback: ivermectina price

  31. Pingback: cialis online canada paypal

  32. Pingback: online cialis us

  33. Pingback: tadalafil 5mg

  34. Pingback: sildenafil

  35. Pingback: tadalafil cost cvs

  36. Pingback: where to purchase sildenafil pills

  37. Pingback: marley generics cialis

  38. Pingback: cialis prescription coupon

  39. Pingback: intermectine

  40. Pingback: sildenafil tablets australia

  41. Pingback: price of sildenafil tablets

  42. Pingback: cheap cialis india

  43. Pingback: generic cialis india

  44. Pingback: tadalafil cost

  45. Pingback: buy prednisone liquid

  46. Pingback: prednisone 20mg how to take

  47. Pingback: how to get cialis prescription australia

  48. Pingback: marley generics cialis

  49. Pingback: buy cialis online in india

  50. Pingback: molnupiravir news

  51. Pingback: cialis without prescriptions

  52. Pingback: cialis vs viagra

  53. Pingback: cialis tablets

  54. Pingback: cost of cialis without prescription

  55. Pingback: cialis pour femme

  56. Pingback: stromectol at

  57. Pingback: where can i purchase viagra

  58. Pingback: side effects for prednisone

  59. Pingback: cialis without a doctor prescription

  60. Pingback: casino online real money

  61. Pingback: discount viagra online canada

  62. Pingback: generic viagra for daily use

  63. Pingback: borgata casino online pa

  64. Pingback: buy viagra online

  65. Pingback: stromectol 3mg tablets

  66. Pingback: dr pierre kory ivermectine

  67. Pingback: online casino real money usa

  68. Pingback: doxycycline buy usa

  69. Pingback: buy generic cialis daily

  70. Pingback: generic accutane treatment

  71. Pingback: cheap cialis india

  72. Pingback: order viagra

  73. Pingback: buy generic cialis online

  74. Pingback: dosage for ivermectin

  75. Pingback: buy cialis without a prescription

  76. Pingback: online gambling for real money

  77. Pingback: cost of ivermectin

  78. Pingback: cialis buy online no prescription

  79. Pingback: where can you get ivermectin

  80. Pingback: where to buy ivermectin in canada

  81. Pingback: augmentin cholangitis

  82. Pingback: cost of stromectol

  83. Pingback: azithromycin 250mg

  84. Pingback: cefdinir storage

  85. Pingback: cialis 20mg online

  86. Pingback: stromectol otc

  87. Pingback: zithromax goodrx

  88. Pingback: azithromycin dose

  89. Pingback: cephalexin other

  90. Pingback: ivermectina 6mg for sale

  91. Pingback: furosemide 80 mg daily

  92. Pingback: tadalafil brand names

  93. Pingback: furosemide 40 mg cost uk

  94. Pingback: ivermectine posologie

  95. Pingback: tadalafil vs sildenafil

  96. Pingback: oral ivermectin cost

  97. Pingback: ivermectin human dosage

  98. Pingback: ivermectin ingredients for humans

  99. Pingback: where can you get ivermectin

  100. Pingback: lucky land

  101. Pingback: stromectol 3 mg tablet price

  102. Pingback: ivermectin 200 mcg

  103. Pingback: ivermectin for humans

  104. Pingback: ivermectin kaufen deutschland

  105. Pingback: ivermectin dosing

  106. Pingback: stromectol pill for humans

  107. Pingback: ivermectin 24 mg

  108. Pingback: stromectol online canada

  109. Pingback: stromectol tablets buy online

  110. Pingback: stromectol 6mg

  111. Pingback: tadalafil goodrx

  112. Pingback: india and ivermectin

  113. Pingback: ivermectin ingredients for humans

  114. Pingback: stromectol liquid

  115. Pingback: buy ivermectin cream for humans

  116. Pingback: stromectol canada

  117. Pingback: stromectol tablets buy online

  118. Pingback: ivermectin australia over the counter

Leave a Reply