Promotional movie poster for the film
|Directed by||Fernando León de Aranoa|
|Produced by||Fernando León de Aranoa
|Written by||Fernando León de Aranoa|
|Music by||Alfonso de Vilallonga
|Editing by||Nacho Ruiz Capillas|
|Distributed by||IFC First Take (U.S.)|
|Running time||109 minutes|
The princesas in the film are two prostitutes: Caye, a Spaniard who is hiding her profession from her family, and Zulema, who is saving money to send to her family in the Dominican Republic. The two women ply their trade on the streets of Madrid.
Caye (Candela Peña) goes to Gloria’s Hair Salon which she frequents and discusses everything from life to politics during her time off with other customers; who are also her friends. They have a shared hatred toward the immigrant prostitutes they observe from the salon. This is because some of them (including Caye) are also prostitutes and feel the immigrants take clients (and ultimately business and money) from them.
Caye’s point of view is quickly changed when she meets Zulema (Micaela Nevárez), an illegal immigrant prostitute working to send money home to her mother and son Edward she left in the Dominican Republic. The two quickly develop a strong bond and support each other with everything including shopping, fashion tips and hair styles.
Caye takes Zulema to her mother’s house for dinner, her phone constantly rings but Caye refuses to answer, something her mother is always confused and bothered about. There Zulema quickly volunteers for the job to teach sex education at Caye’s sister’s school, affording her the ability to send a toy truck to her son for his birthday.
Caye meets Manuel, a computer programmer, outside a club. With some persuasion, Caye convinces him to go with her. Over beers at a café, Caye confesses she is a prostitute. Manuel does not believe her and laughs it off and they begin a relationship.
Zulema approaches Caye and tells her about a man who has promised her papers that will legalize her status in Spain and allow her to bring her family to Spain. Caye suspicious of the offer and begs Zulema not to go with him. Caye’s theory proves true, the man wishes simply to use Zulema and never had intentions of actually getting her legal status. She escapes a first meeting with him when Caye comes to help, but is later lured into a hotel room, where the client turns out to be him, and she is left beaten and presumably raped. Zulema then has a consensual tryst with a compassionate "volunteer" and goes to the hospital for a full medical examination, something she hadn't done for many years. When Zulema sees the test results, she collapses. Actual confirmation of her medical status is left ambiguous although there is a hint that her condition is fatal and communicable as she intentionally arranges to meet with her abuser and has rough sex with him.
While at the hospital with Zulema, Caye receives a call from a client requesting her services for himself and his friends. Caye heads to the cafe where they have arranged to meet. There she runs into Manuel and a group of his co-workers only to realize that it was Manuel and his friends who are requesting her services and learns of Manuel’s presumed infidelity. Manuel meanwhile realizes that Caye was indeed being serious about her profession, without saying a word to each other, they both understand the predicament and quietly go their separate ways.
Devastated over her newfound situation, Zulema decides to leave Spain and return to her family in the Dominican Republic. With a heartfelt but bittersweet good-bye, Caye gives Zulema an envelope filled with cash and asks her to “go be happy”. That afternoon while having dinner with her family, Caye announces that Zulema has returned to the Dominican Republic because she was a prostitute and could no longer bear the emotional burden of the profession and distance from her son. The film concludes with Caye’s cellphone again incessantly ringing, her mom asking her whether she is going to answer or not and Caye simply retorting, “¡Cógelo tú mamá!” ("You answer it, mom").
- Candela Peña — Caye
- Micaela Nevárez — Zulema
- Mariana Cordero — Pilar
- Llum Barrera — Gloria
- Violeta Pérez — Caren
- Mónica Van Campen — Ángela
"Me Llaman Calle" featured world music artist Manu Chao, and earned the film a Goya nomination for Best Original Song. The title translates to 'They call me street', a reference to Caye, whose name sounds like calle in Spanish. "Cinco Razones" by Manu Chao appears at several significant points in the plot development.
Awards and nominations
- Best Actress (Candela Peña)
- Best New Actress (Micaela Nevárez)
- Best Original Song (Manu Chao for "Me llaman calle")
- Best Actor – Minor Role (Luis Callejo)
- Best Actress – Leading Role (Candela Peña)
- Best Costume Design (Sabine Daigeler)
- Best Film
- Best Makeup and Hairstyles (Manolo García and Carlos Hernández)
- Best New Actor (Luis Callejo)
- Best Screenplay – Original (Fernando León de Aranoa)
- Best Sound (Polo Aledo, Alfonso Raposo and Miguel Rejas)
- Best Actress – Minor Role (Mariana Cordero)
- Best Actress – Minor Role (Violeta Pérez)
- Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema – Dramatic (Fernando León de Aranoa)