La Mami (2019)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 19m

Amid the swells of Mexico City’s nightlife there resides a cabaret filled with hardworking female dancers. “La Mami” sits in the dancers’ bathroom night after night, applying her purple eyeliner as carefully as she folds squares of toilet paper to distribute. Often silent yet always watchful, La Mami occasionally asks questions of the women, but she never pries. Her tasks range from burning incense to scolding those who flush too frequently, but above all she is the timekeeper for the dancers, reminding them of their responsibilities down in the club, as well as a source of advice. A beautiful friendship gradually develops between La Mami and new hire Priscilla as the women exchange intimate details during their shifts, sharing glances in the mirror. This deliberate and probing film carefully balances the mundanity of the women’s work, their frustrations, and the status of their relationships both within and beyond the haven of their communal meeting place. It is an extraordinarily tender glimpse into the complexities of female existence as played out on the turf of La Mami’s bathroom. KR