2016, Mexico, 86 min, in Spanish with subtitles
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.