Tango (1998 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Carlos Saura|
|Produced by||Carlos Mentasti
Luis A. Scalella
|Written by||Carlos Saura|
|Starring||Miguel Ángel Solá
Juan Luis Galiardo
|Music by||Lalo Schifrin|
|Editing by||Julia Juaniz|
Alma Ata International Pictures
Argentina Sono Film
|Distributed by||Líder Films (ARG)
Warner Bros. (ESP)
Sony Pictures Classics (USA)
|Running time||115 minutes|
|Budget||ESP 700 million|
Tango (Spanish: Tango, no me dejes nunca) is a 1998 Argentine tango film written and directed by Carlos Saura and photographed by acclaimed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. The film is an Argentine and Spanish production.
In Buenos Aires, Mario Suárez, a middle-aged theatre director, is left holed up in his apartment, licking his wounds when his girlfriend (and principal dancer) Laura leaves him. Seeking distraction, he throws himself into his next project, a musical about the tango. One evening, while meeting with his backers, he is introduced to a beautiful young woman, Elena, the girlfriend of his chief investor Angelo, a shady businessman with underworld connections. Angelo asks Mario to audition Elena. He does so and is immediately captivated by her. Eventually, he takes her out of the chorus and gives her a leading role. An affair develops between them, but the possessive Angelo has her followed, and threatens her with dire consequences if she leaves him, mirroring Mario's own feelings and actions towards Laura before Elena entered his life.
The investors are unhappy with some of Mario's dance sequences. They don't like a routine which criticises the violent military repression and torture of the past. Angelo has been given a small part, which he takes very seriously. The lines between fact and fiction begin to blur: during a scene in the musical showing immigrants newly arrived in Argentina, two men fight over the character played by Elena. She is stabbed. Only slowly do we realise that her death is not for real.
- Miguel Ángel Solá as Mario Suárez
- Mía Maestro as Elena Flores
- Cecilia Narova as Laura Fuentes
- Juan Luis Galiardo as Angelo Larroca
- Juan Carlos Copes as Carlos Nebbia
- Carlos Rivarola as Ernesto Landi
- Sandra Ballesteros as María Elman
- Óscar Cardozo Ocampo as Daniel Stein
- Enrique Pinti as Sergio Lieman
- Julio Bocca as Julio Bocca
- Martín Seefeld as Andrés Castro
Promoted as the most expensive Argentine film ever made, this production employed theatrical lighting and several cameras shooting simultaneously on a specially constructed set in Buenos Aires. Tango classics alternate with Lalo Schifrin's score. Famed tango dancers appear onscreen in dark dances depicting passions, sorrows, and the history of Argentina, including a war ballet, as Saura noted, "We needed a scene that would be brutal, and a ballet that would be violent and aggressive, which we don't often see in musicals. It frightened me. There was a great deal of tension on the set because some of the dancers had loved ones who had suffered during those years, and the ballet re-creates the terrible feeling of the period. Tango was shown out of competition at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
As in so many of Saura's films, the basic psychological love triangle is transplanted to a new arena, not that of Carmen nor of Lorca, but of the director of a production in Argentina that takes up a number of powerful historical themes, from the landing of many immigrants, covered by the soundtrack with Verdi's "Va, pensiero...", which recalls historical themes of rebellion and which are taken up when a danced representation of the Junta's repression is enacted.
There is less dancing than usual in Saura's films. Clearly, he has experts to work with, and the focus on the foot tracing catlike its path on the floor has the flavor of a point newly inculcated, and yet it is appropriate, and not the amateur mistake made by many dance filmmakers of concentrating the camera only on the feet or legs, which misses the whole point of the dance coming from the dancer's center.
The film caused some controversy by a lavish dance scene between Elena and Laura, that ends in a lesbian kissing scene. This was criticized by some tango fans who claimed that same sex tango, even being common, doesn't have usually a sexual connotation.
- Nominated for the 1998 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
- Nominated for the 1998 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
- Winner of the 1998 Goya Award for Best Sound.
- Winner of the Grand Prix Technique de la CST (Vittorio Storaro) at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
Tango was issued on DVD by Sony Pictures in August 1999, in Spanish with English subtitles.
- "Festival de Cannes: Tango". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-10-04.