As the film opens, an Uruguayan woman named Elisa (Mariana Santangelo) is
arguing with her mother, and decides to move out with her two illegitimate
sons in the middle of a downpour. So, armed with her salon style hair dryer
that she hopes to use to open a salon with her best friend, she crowds
everyone into a phone booth, and calls her current boss/boyfriend, who has
promised to fund the salon, leave his wife and marry her. It's amazing what
men will promise when they have a hard-on! At this point in the story, it
feels like it will be a comedy, and a very good one, as the fiery Mariana
Santangelo is a pleasure to watch.
When she realizes her current flame has absolutely no honorable intentions,
she and her best friend decide to sell their bodies to raise the money they
need. The tone of the film changes dramatically when Elisa meets the
attractive and a little too smooth Silvestre. Next thing you know, she and her
girlfriend are on their way to Barcelona with Silvestre to make enough money
to open their salon. Once they get there, they find things a little different
than they expected. They are white slaves, Silvestre takes all of their money,
and they must fight for their sidewalk space with Brazilian cross-dressers.
This is a Uruguayan film that was so well-received that it single-handedly
revived the film industry in Uruguay. The story is an important one because
the slave trade between Uruguay and Spain is real. This tale does a wonderful
job of exposing it and Maria Santangelo gives a wonderful, irresistible
It is in Spanish with English subtitles.
This is a high C+.
IMDb readers say 6.8, and it won a host of awards, mostly of the Best
Picture variety. There is very little in the way of critical response, and it
doesn't seem to have been released in the US other than on the "coleccion
latina" division of Warner Brothers. It deserves wider exposure.