Enchanting Film With A Surprise Ending
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 03/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a film which should appeal to multiple groups: tango lovers, Gardel fanatics, and romantics. I saw this film originally last summer and recently ordered my own copy from an amazon partner, hoping it was the same film since no information about it is provided here. As it turns out, the one being sold is the one I wanted.
For those who don't know, the cult of Carlos Gardel in Argentina is like the US Elvis cult, only much more devoted and fanatical. As with other popular stars who die young (Gardel died in a plane crash while on tour), there is eternal speculation over what might have been. In the case of Gardel, his death was and is seen as a national tragedy.
Anyway, near the start of the movie a struggling Buenos Aires tango singer named Renzo Franchi is introduced to the girlfriend of one of his musicians who spots him while they are leaving a Gardel film. She notes that Franchi looks like Gardel then tells him so.
Franchi is flattered then decides to learn some Gardel songs. He does, and his friend's girlfriend is smitten by the similarity of his style to Gardel. Franchi then chumps his friend and steals his girl. She obsessively calls him Gardelito and he becomes more absorbed in the fantasy that he is just like Gardel.
His imitation of Gardel ultimately leads to his being invited by Gardel's agent to take Gardel's place in singing a radio commercial for Ford when Gardel found himself overbooked with commitments. Gardel hears him sing over the phone, is amazed at the similarity in voice and style and endorses the commercial as his own. Franchi of course gets paid, but Gardel gets credit.
All of this leads Franchi's fellow musicians to fantasize about a "Gardel" tour of Latin America while Gardel is out of Buenos Aires on business. This trip takes them to north-western Argentina, Bolivia (where the agent absconds), Peru, Ecuador, and finally to Colombia where the real Gardel happened to be slated to perform in Bogota. They soon find out that few people have heard of Gardel outside of the sophisticated metropolitan areas and things begin to go awry. The trip is filled with mishaps, some comical and some sad, and Gardelito (Franchi) finds himself broke in Bogota without his wife (he had married his admirer) and his musicians, all of whom returned to Buenos Aires when his tour proved to have been a mistake.
But Franchi was by now becoming full of himself as better than Gardel and determined to prove his wife and his band wrong. By chance, he encounters Gardel's agent and writer at a hotel in Bogota (where Gardel was and is hugely popular)who both give him the brush-off. He is discouraged but his big chance comes when Gardel petulantly refuses to perform and his agent desparately cooks up a scheme to avoid a riot by going on his knees to Gardelito to be Gardel's substitute for a couple of minutes.
What happens next, I'll leave for you to discover, but the last portion of this enchanting film has a tremendous surprise ending.
Gardelito with a twist!!
In addition to the superb acting of Dario Grandinetti as Franchi/Gardel, there is the equally superb acting of his supporting cast. The film is filled with dance, romance, and the songs of Gardel. Unobtrusive English subtitles can be selected for those who don't understand Spanish. Get it while it is still available!!"