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A brilliant social critic ruined by bad actors
The movie plot revolves around a burlesque theater called "Tivoli", located in downtown Mexico city. The Tivoli is about to be demolished by the corrupt major of Mexico city, and the artists struggle to try to save their workplace.
Throughout the movie we see a strong critique towards the Mexican political system of the time, where corrupt politicians run everything like a fiefdom, and live with double standards. While they publicly criticize the Tivoli as obscene and indecent, many of them are regular customers and they even "hire" the artists to do private functions in their mansions.
Arau's performance is in my opinion, the best in the whole film, but the decision to use a real life burlesque performer as the character "Eva Candela" proved to be disastrous, because Lyn May is a terrible actress, she barely knows how to deliver a line. The humor is very crude, and North American or European audiences may be shocked by the politically incorrect and sexist jokes made throughout the movie.
Nevertheless I recommend this movie because of the accurate depiction of Mexican (and maybe Latinamerican) society, a society where things are not always what they seem.
Promising idea, poorly handled by all concerned
"Tivoli" (1975) certainly had a promising idea back of it (the closing by mercenary developers and corrupt civic officials of a popular burlesque theatre that stood in the way of "progress") but the treatment is extremely poor. To succeed in this sort of movie, you need a script that makes a clear division between the good guys and the bad guys. Instead, what the script is actually saying is that the show-people themselves are so sleazy and self-centered that if positions were reversed, the outcome would be exactly the same. To make matters worse, the camera often lingers for an unconscionable time on some of the hammiest and least interesting (and in three or four cases, indelibly repulsive) players. Determinedly flat-footed, totally pedestrian direction doesn't help either. The movie seems to go on forever. The editor is obviously fast asleep.