Dance of the 41 ending explained – Can Amada free Ignacio of his sins?

May 12, 2021 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
M.N. Miller 5
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix

This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Dance of the 41, so it will contain major spoilers.

They say the incident of the Dance of 41 “invented” homosexuality, though all it did was shine a light on the issue. Nevertheless, it’s an absorbing study of the two leads—both being trapped by social norms and living miserable, tragic lives for nothing more than biology.

Netflix’s Dance of the 41- the ending explained

Dance of the Forty-One (El baile de los 41) is based on the true story of Ignacio de la Torre (Alfonso Herrera), a congressman at the end of the 19th century who married the daughter of the president of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz (Fernando Becerril). He uses Amanda as his beard to lead a double life. One, as a rise to prominence as a political figure. The other, living out a secret life as a gay man during a time that could get you jailed or executed. When Ignacio is not trying to improve the lives of Mexico’s citizens through public service, he spends most of his nights in a secret society of homosexual men in the country’s capital. 

The film’s title refers to an illegal raid by the President’s armed guard. 41 gay men, 19 of them dressed as women, were arrested. These men were berated, humiliated, and shipped off to prisons to atone for their sins for being homosexuals. The problem was there were 42, and politics is power, so President Diaz took Ignacio off the list. The film ends with Ignacio as the only member left and a shot of him at the dinner table with his scorned wife, with tears in his eyes.

What happens next?

Ignacio is trapped by his country’s social norms and religious morals. While many viewed him as also a complex figure, mainly because he did use President Díaz’s daughter as a beard and for his political gain. Though, he was a product of his time. He had to live in hiding of not just shame but physical harm. Amada was also a product of her time and a political animal. Take the scene where she tries to “rid” him of his sins. It’s a period and culture steeped in religious values. 

After Ignacio and his society are discovered, he is pulled from the group to prevent a scandal for Diaz’s office. He is the only one left and now is a prisoner in his own home, with his wife now the warden. Now, with tears in his eyes, the metaphorical jail cell has been closed, and the key tossed away. He can no longer live the life he wanted, even in secret, or be with the man he loved.

What do you think of the ending of Dance of the 41? Comment below with your interpretations and opinions.

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5 thoughts on “Dance of the 41 ending explained – Can Amada free Ignacio of his sins?

  • May 20, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    I just finished the film. I felt the ending was so abrupt. However, after reading this explanation of the ending I understand where they were going with it, but I feel that scene could have bit longer, maybe pan into his eyes for a bit. Give us, some hint there is a meaning behind it and that it’s the ending. It just felt chopped all of the sudden. The film was really good though.

  • May 28, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    Although the circumstances were completely different, the ending reminded me of the end of Brokeback Mountain, where the surviving partner remains trapped in sadness, and worse off than ever. The abrupt ending is probably good in this sense, as it emphasizes the hopelessness of the situation. The Amada character starts off as a rather innocent victim, but she becomes a sadistic victimizer. The way she casually mentions the death of Evaristo, the lover, is cruel and meant to be so. I thought the move was terrific, with excellent performances. The whole thing was very well done. Beautiful but bleak.

  • June 21, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Excellent screenplay and the ending is realistic rather than romantic. The film is essentially about power, sexual politics and as an add-on, the inability of men to assess women and their potential. That leads to a nasty reversal of fortune and revenge: Amada, now being in the position to do so, forces Ignacio into the same subordinate position he had so callously foisted on her. The film demonstrates, among many other things, that gender roles are not hard-wired but a function of socialization.

  • August 6, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    should probably make a second one where he finds his lover again. He surely couldnt have lived like that all his life. But he shouldnt have used this woman to step up the ladder either. He was pretty cruel to her

  • September 17, 2022 at 1:52 am

    The ending seemed like defeat and tolerance. The wife was glad the obstacle was no longer in the way, and the husband realized that his true love, and love will never be. He will be living a miserable life till the end of his days. The wife did not want to lose her pride because she is considered not pure white because her mom is a native and from the countryside. Both have too much to lose in the relationship.

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