Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


Mario Suarez (Miguel Angel Sola) is a choreographer in mourning for his lost love Laura Fuentes (Cecilia Narova). When Angelo Larroca (Juan Luis Galiardo), suggests that Mario audition his girl friend Elena Flores (Mia Maestro), Mario falls in love with the 23-year-old beauty and asks her to live with him despite Angelo's warning that he will kill her if she ever left him.

"Sensual and provocative, Tango is a film about the dance, the rhythms and the passions. Visually splendid with a powerful, haunting music soundtrack, Carlos Saura's film is breathless with nuance, subtlety and an underlying passion that sizzles throughout. It's a reflective film, where life imitates art, and the inner desires and emotions are second only to the dance. Much of the film is shot in silhouettes, reflections and dancers in profile – all stunning to the eye. Tango is very much about an obsession – both with the dance and a dancer. Miguel Ángel Sola is pensive and soulful, reminding me often of a young Sinatra. His struggle with reality, with his art form and his desires are canvassed with intrigue. There's style, beauty, deliberation and provocation – all coloured by the unique, evocative dance called the Tango. When the script calls for four legs and one body, it's not kidding, there's dance in abundance and routines to satisfy the greatest fans. Tango is rousing cinema, albeit a little long, with stunning images and rhythmic music, that showcase a dance form exploding with understatement."
Louise Keller

"While Tango doesn’t work for me as a film, it has marvelous music and imagery to compensate its lack of dramatic tension or structure. True, there is a love triangle of sorts, but it is so hackneyed as to be pedestrian. The real achievement in Tango is Saura’s ability to captivate with vision and music; the tango dance sequences and the sheer musicality of the film – ranging from source music to the original score elements – provide ample entertainment, all coming from a high-powered heart."
Andrew L. Urban

"Here’s something you don’t see much these days on the big screen: an old-fashioned ‘art movie’ of a kind that in this country would normally go straight to SBS. The macho sexual politics (beautiful young girl gets it on with weary middle-aged artist) seem to come from another era, as do the slightly ponderous games with memory and reality, art and life. Beyond the opening image of a smoggy Buenos Aires skyline, virtually the whole movie takes place in dimly lit, glowing interiors (superbly shot by the great cinematographer Vittorio Storaro). Most of the big numbers are mounted in a bare, cavernous studio, with dancers reduced to semi-silhouettes in front of shifting coloured back projections. It’s as if the movie were deliberately turning away from the outside world to gaze inward and into the past, conjuring up collective memories of a entire, complex culture. For someone like me who doesn’t know much (all right, nothing) about the tango, these glimpses of an unfamiliar tradition were probably the most compelling aspect of the film: brief clips from ‘30s movies with legendary past stars, a scene where an old man (an actor, or an actual dancer?) reminisces while watching his grand-daughter perform. The dance sequences themselves are often stunning, yet, as with the rest of the movie, they don’t create much immediate, present-tense drama. Even the climactic sequence, bringing us back to a less glorious history of torture and oppression, seems more like a gesture than an urgent personal statement – though viewers who know this story from the inside may feel the whole thing very differently."
Jake Wilson

Email this article

Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0


CAST: Miguel Ángel Sola, Cecilia Narova, Mia Maestro, Juan Carlos Copes, Julio Bocca

DIRECTOR: Carlos Saura

PRODUCER: Juan Carlos Codazzi, Carlos Mentasti, Luis A. Scalella

SCRIPT: Carlos Saura


EDITOR: Julia Juaniz

MUSIC: Lalo Schifrin


RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Feb 18, 1999 Melbourne – Mar 22 - Per; Apr 1 - Syd; Apr 15 - Bris; Apr 22 - Adel

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020