2016 Sundance Docs in Focus: PLAZA DE LA SOLEDAD

plaza de la soldedadThe first half of this year’s world docs wraps up: From Mexico, PLAZA DE LA SOLEDAD, Maya Goded’s profile of older sex workers on the streets of Mexico City.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Inviting us into a world we would otherwise never know, this richly textured portraiture jumps off the screen in vibrant, clarifying colors. Carmen, Lety, Raquel, and Esther​, each ranging in age from 50 to 80 years old,​ ​​work the streets of La Merced in Mexico City, where life revolves around a large town plaza. Age means nothing to these women, who still dance and seduce with the same energy they’ve held on to since youth. But with time comes a desire to seek out companionship and security, whether in the form of their fellow co-workers, older men, or their own deeply ​ingrained sense of self-reliance.

Photographer-turned-filmmaker Maya Goded refuses to shy away from the painful aspects of these women’s jobs – the abuse, fear, and discontent that come from years of selling intimacy​. She leads us into​ their histories, families, superstitions, and hopes, while allowing the camera to hone in on the contours of their well-worn bodies – beautiful and real.​ PLAZA DE LA SOLEDAD is a sumptuous ​visual celebration ​and ​a ​refreshingly honest ​exploration​ of physical and emotional ​self-determination against difficult odds.

Some Background:
Director: Maya Goded
Goded is an acclaimed photographer known for documenting marginalized people and female sexuality. This marks her feature directorial debut following the short documentary UNA REINA A SU GUSTO (Morelia).

Producers: Martha Sosa, Eamon O’Farrill, and Monica Lozano; Co-Producer: Carlos Hagerman
Alebrije Cine y Video’s Lozano is one of Mexico’s premier producers, with credits including the Oscar-nominated AMORE PERROS and PRESUMED GUILTY (POV), among many others. La Sombra del Guayabo’s Sosa previously executive produced AMORES PERROS and produced docs such as PRESUMED GUILTY (POV) and THOSE WHO REMAIN (IDFA), while Monstro Films’ O’Farrill produced THE MEXICAN SUITCASE (Karlovy Vary).

Editor: Valentina Leduc
Leduc is a Sundance alum, having previously cut World Cinema Documentary Jury winner IN THE PIT (2006).

Why You Should Watch:
The filmmaker’s rapport with her subjects is immediately clear in the unselfconsciousness with which they present themselves to the camera, whether spending quiet moments eating lunch with a boyfriend or trying to pick up their next trick. Simultaneously gritty and sweet, the film demonstrates Goded’s strength in capturing the essence of otherwise under-represented individuals and subcultures.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the link in the first paragraph.

Presently, the film does not have a website, Facebook page, or trailer. Should this change before the festival kicks off, I’ll update that information here.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2016 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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