Back in the 70’s and 80’s, adult entertainment in Mexico was set in theaters where performances featured skilled showgirls in exotic attires, before an audience of hundreds. Sometimes the sequined dresses would be ditched in favor of body glitter, or nothing at all, nudity or partial nudity being the main act of the variety.
The performers, also known as vedettes or the derogatory “encueratrices” (word play of actress and naked), ruled the nightlife of the capital, mastering the art of allure and seduction which garnered them all types of extravagant gifts from their devoted fans. The ladies’ fame was constantly amplified by generous movie deals or scandalous affairs.
These are the tales filmmaker María José Cuevas lures from former night stars Olga Breeskin, Lyn May, Wanda Seux, Rossy Mendoza and Princesa Yamal in her recent documentary “Bellas de Noche” (Beauties by Night). The film’s title makes reference to the 1975 film alternatively known as “Las Ficheras,” a popular genre focused on the dynamics of cantinas and the ladies who kept partisans company for a small fee.
Now, thirty or so years later, this type of work has lost its niche to the less outlandish strip clubs or web cam sites. There are no heiresses to Lyn May’s dancing skills, or Olga Breeskin’s violin performances, since the market for it no longer exists, a place the stars themselves lost during the course of their lives.
The film walks us through the current lives of Lyn, Olga, Rossy, Wanda and Princesa Yamal as they share their tribulations and insights on the industry they were a part of. Even if their paths did not lead to a happily ever after, the courage and strength they previously showed by dominating an entire audience with the sway of their hips and powerful personalities shines through their plight to stand for what they believe in, battle health issues and defy the beauty standards where youth is king.
Cuevas offers a privileged view of the entertainers private lives and their diligent commitment to their craft years after the spotlight went dark. There is no prejudice or moral in “Bellas de Noche,” just the unapologetic accounts of five women who take pride in their careers and carried on with life even after business wasn’t as usual.
Watch “Bellas de Noche” at La Casa del Cine, click here for more information .