Danzón by María Novaro

Danzon Maria Novaro Female filmmakers Festival.jpg


1991 / 120min 

DIRECTOR: María Novaro

Q&A with María Novaro & María Elena de las Carreras, Lecturer, Cal State Northridge


María Novaro's Danzón, an unusual work of Mexican feminism, is the gentle and earnest story of one woman's voyage of self- discovery.  Julia (Maria Rojo), a telephone operator in Mexico City whose principal joy is the form of ballroom dancing and her dance partner, Carmelo (Daniel Rergis), have been meeting weekly for six years, which is the full extent of their relationship when Carmelo mysteriously disappears. Julia sets out to find him and manages, in the process, to find herself. Her journey takes her to a seedy hotel inhabited by prostitutes and to the Veracruz waterfront among the sailors, where she wanders the docks in a red dress. It also makes her a new friend in the form of Susy (Tito Vasconcelos), a transvestite entertainer, with whom Julia patiently practices her dancing.  Julia's yearning for Carmelo, a man about whom she knows practically nothing, remains undimmed during these adventures. 


Danzón is very much in keeping with the courtly dance for which it is named, and for which Julia and Carmelo have won many prizes. The film's several scenes of crowded ballrooms reveal polite, mostly elderly couples as they go through the stiffly gracious motions of this formal dance. The mood is staid, and yet these couples' very devotion to the dance, and presumably to one another, has a quiet eloquence. In its modest way, Danzón has that eloquence, too. (via NY Times)


María Novaro is a legendary Mexican filmmaker and feminist who began film school as a mother of two young children. Her first feature film, Lola, won the Silver Ariel Award for Best First Work in 1989, and she continues to make critically acclaimed films including Danzón (1991), The Good Herbs (2000), and Tesoros (2017). She is currently the Director of the Mexican Film Institute.

María Elena de las Carreras is a Fulbright scholar and film critic from Argentina. She is a regular collaborator of the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles and the CSUN Cinematheque. She has been an accredited journalist at the Berlin Film Festival since 1986. In 2017, she co-curated the UCLA Film & Television Archive series “Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1930.” Since 2014 she has been conducting research and interviews for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Visual History Program. She has published many journal articles and essays in English and Spanish. Her scholarly publications and blog are available through academia.edu.



Sunday, October 14th, 2018



Please arrive at least 10 minutes early as screenings & panels will start on time.



The Downtown Independent

251 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012