Salón México (1949)
A famous cabaret in Mexico City, Salón Mexico was staffed by ficheras, women who charged clients for dancing and, more often than not, for sex. Fernández's celebrated melodrama tells the story of one such dancer, Mercedes (Marga López) who must fight off the attentions of an abusive pimp while working to finance the schooling of her younger sister. A danzón contest offers salvation, but will Mercedes see her chance of redemption cruelly snatched away? Deliciously dark with noir overtones, its fine performances are matched by Gabriel Figueroa's superlative cinematography.