Opening with a few flashes of blurred lights and smoke clouds, the first scenes of the Yo No Soy Guapo trailer are all about sensory overload—reflecting the electric audio, visual, and tactile cocktail that only happens in the middle of a dance floor.
Yo No Soy Guapo, directed by Joyce García, is a documentary that tugs viewers close into the culture of Mexico City’s sonidero parties, a world that is equal parts gritty, lively, and unrestrained. DJs blast cumbia in primarily urban, working-class neighborhoods, giving attendees a chance to find escape and communion amid the heavily percussive music. The parties are a tight, sweltering, interpersonal bodily affair, and García captures as much in the tiny details of her shots: the matted hair of a dancer, the beads of sweat bouncing off a DJ’s forehead, all scenes that unfold over the unifying throb of Súper Grupo Colombia’s “Cumbia de Mi Región.”
“I always say, you feel an orgasm when you’re in that party—seeing La Changa, La Conga, el Condor… Forget it, it’s something amazing,” one woman says in the trailer.
But twinkling dance floor lights eventually melt into police car flares, and the film turns its lens onto the ways in which cops often antagonize the attendees of these gatherings. The shift is an indicator that although Yo No Soy Guapo takes its time getting to know the music collectors, performers, and partygoers in this space, it also seeks to be a multi-faceted investigation of the factors that threaten the longstanding cultures of marginalized communities.
Despite police confrontations, one man best articulates the permanence of sonideros, declaring: “I don’t think that this lifestyle will ever be extinguished. They won’t be able to. It’s like trying to end a nation.”
Watch the trailer here.