7.7/10
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6 user 3 critic

Hell Without Limits (1978)

El lugar sin límites (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 28 April 1978 (Mexico)
Family honor, greed, machismo, homophobia, and the dreams of whores collide in a Mexican town. Rich, elderly Don Alejo is poised to sell the town for a profit, needing only to buy a ... See full summary »

Director:

Arturo Ripstein

Writers:

José Donoso (novel), José Donoso (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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7 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucha Villa ... La Japonesa
Ana Martín ... Japonesita
Gonzalo Vega ... Pancho
Julián Pastor Julián Pastor ... Octavio
Carmen Salinas ... Lucy
Fernando Soler ... Don Alejo
Emma Roldán ... Ludovinia
Blanca Torres Blanca Torres ... Blanca
Marta Aura ... Emma, hermana de Octavio
Agustín Silva Agustín Silva ... Reynaldo
Socorro de la Campa Socorro de la Campa
Francisco Llopis Francisco Llopis ... (as Paco Llopis)
Hortensia Santoveña ... Clotilde
Nery Ruiz Nery Ruiz
Tere Olmedo Tere Olmedo ... Lila
Edit

Storyline

Family honor, greed, machismo, homophobia, and the dreams of whores collide in a Mexican town. Rich, elderly Don Alejo is poised to sell the town for a profit, needing only to buy a whorehouse to own all the buildings and close the deal. It's owned by a man and his daughter: Manuelita is gay, aging, afraid; he cross-dresses and entertains as a flamenco dancer; he wants to sell and leave. His daughter wants to stay. The return of Pancho complicates things: he's a hothead Alejo tries to control and he scared Manuelita the year before. Things come to a head as Pancho breaks Alejo's hold on him, then flirts and dances with Manuelita and finds himself at risk of being called a "maricón." Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

28 April 1978 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Hell Without Limits See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Conacite Dos See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Connections

Referenced in El Narco (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

El relicario
Performed by Gran Banda Taurina
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User Reviews

brilliant!
2 November 2003 | by cyn_duncanSee all my reviews

Considering that this film was made in 1978 when no one - especially no one in Mexico - was making films about gay men, this film is remarkable for the way it presents a critique of macho culture. La Manuela, played brilliantly by Roberto Cobo, doesn't want to be a man because she doesn't want to be a "bruto," an animal. Pancho and his brother in law, Octavio, represent everything that's wrong with Mexican men. They are obsessed with appearing "manly" in the eyes of the world. They treat women like objects, they are violent, and they like to control other people. Pancho is especially pathetic because he is obviously attracted to la Manuela but can't admit it. On the other hand, la Manuela is very honest and open about who she is and what she wants. She doesn't care if people make fun of her and call her names. She is kind, supportive, and in decisive moments, brave. In case you're thinking this is a male-bashing film, it's not. Don Alejo, the aging cacique (boss) of the town is an old fashioned patriarch who has his flaws, but he is not threatened by men like la Manuela. He doesn't pass judgment on people and he recognizes wrongdoing when he sees it. He suggests that there are other ways to be a man in Mexico, and that people like Pancho and Octavio are threats to society. The relationship between la Manuela and her daughter, Japonesita, is sweet and touching, like the mother and daughter roles in a 1940s melodrama, but with a modern twist! Although la Manuela sometimes acts campy and parodies female behavior, it is clearly just part of the spectacle or show. When she's not on stage, she's down to earth and practical, like any of the other "girls" who work in the brothel. This film shows the seamy side of life in a small town, but ultimately suggests that the people who live and work in the brothel are more honest and sincere than those who belong to the so-called "respectable" outside world. Roberto Cobo is perfect in the role because he's not beautiful or feminine looking, but he knows how to seduce with words and gestures. The final "dance of the kiss" is hypnotic, and it's easy to forget that he's not a "real" woman as he dances for Pancho. Running like a thread through the whole film is a commentary about how life in Mexico is changing and how small town life is disappearing. It's a great film, well worth seeing, the best film coming out of Mexico in the 1970s, without a doubt.


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