Saura does not take a back seat to Spielberg
Buzzy Weidman | Warsaw, New York | 10/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Much of this extraordinary movie deals with the Tango; its origins, its importance to the Argentine culture. The dancing is superlative, the music is wonderful. Amidst the music and the dancing, is a taut, dramatic love story. The depth of the story is not necessarily in the character development, but rather in the blurring of the imagination and reality experienced by the main character. This "back and forth" between reality and the imagination is marvelously portrayed as a result of Saura's sophisticated direction. At times you think you are looking at the characters only to find that you are looking at reflections. The cinematography and lighting are superb. A moviegoer does not have to have an affinity for the Tango to appreciate this movie. The terrific acting, beautiful use of light and color and the surreal thought processes of the main character are worthwhile in their own right, but the music, dancing and insight into the production of the "show within the show" are truly wonderful. Definitely an eleven on a scale of ten."
A Choreographic Tour de force
S. A. Schweitzer | Avon, Ohio USA | 02/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an impressive cinematic experience which borders on pure ballet. What Evita achieved in some measure in its operatic effort (for all that it was worth)the movie Tango unleashes a continuous virtuosic display of stunning dance sequences which is not unlike that of classical ballet. To be sure, the visual (not special) effects assume precedence over any character development, although the main character's angst is to some degree fairly well defined. There is some philosophical adumbrations, some of which betray influences of Jorge Luis Borges; namely, the omnipresence of mirrors, which suggest the reality/illusion references; the encapsulated, closed environment of the mise-en-scene, the inveterate lonliness of the protagonist. Overall the film tends toward the abstract, not unlike a painting in perpetual motion."
Excellent cinematography, a motion picture art piece
kravdraa | Tucson, AZ USA | 11/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tango is an amazing movie in its exceptional combination of dance, music, camera technique, color, mirrors, and lighting.At several points in this movie I thought to myself: "Wow, this lighting/camera perspective is perfect, why don't we see more of this in movies?" After watching the movie once, I found myself immediately going back to re-watch some specific scenes just like one may be drawn back to an especially interesting piece of art.The plot of this movie *is not* what makes this a great picture, although it does effectively tie together the various scenes and the overall context of the film. What makes this a great film are the actors/actresses, dance numbers, music, and cinematography.The english subtitles were clear and easy to read at all times.Overall a very different and entertaining movie... Recommended."
A Vivid Blur
Mr. Cairene | Cairo, Egypt | 12/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Carlos Saura's Tango is a film about art imitating life. In this case the art in question is a stage production composed of several elaborately choreographed tango dances that will attempt to encompass years of Argentine history along with the all its author's ill-defined compulsions. That author, or in this case the director, is Mario Suarez (Miguel Angel Sola), a quite, recently single middle-aged man. In the film's opening scene, the camera pans over cinematographer Vittorio Storaro's breathtaking rendition of Buenos Aires and into the director's apartment where he sits, miserable and lonely listening to an intense carol on a well worn gramophone, the subtitles say "Oh life is strange". It's a great opening scene.Mario is upset at Laura, the women he used to live with, and angrily confronts her. "I am living with another man now. I'm happy" she says. The situation frizzles relatively peacefully. But Mario still has to work with her, and watch as she dances the tango with her new lover. Later, at a party he is surprised to learn that one of his investors, infact the one who is putting up half of the money is a Mafioso (Juan Luis Galiardo), who asks Mario to consider casting his petite, dance loving girlfriend. The Mafioso is an entirely reasonable man, "I realize that what I'm asking is expected, but all I ask is that you audition her. No favoritism." Then he points out the splendid girl in question, Elena (Mia Maestro), dancing with an older gentleman. Mario is understandably smitten. He instantly agrees.Before you start drawing parallels with Woody Allen's wonderfully off the wall Bullets Over Broadway, the resultant love triangle or (square, if you add Mario's ex-girlfriend into the equation) is largely expressed in numerous, intense tango dances that may be part of the show's rehearsals or just a figment of Mario's imagination. In an early scene, Mario, in heavily metaphorical mood describes himself to Elena as "One of those lions that roam Africa. A solitary creature." She smiles, a little puzzled. "I know my analogy is pretentious. But vivid." Which exactly describes tango heavy rest of the film, pretentious yet vivid.Speaking of Tango, that lecherous dance. The sequences in the film are self-contained masterpieces of lighting and choreography. And for this, Storarro and the production designer deserve as much credit as the the writer/director, Saura. You'd think that once you've seen one perfected dance, you've seen them all. Not so. Each dance has its own energy, intrigue and personality. Had these dances more life to imitate, and had they been used more economically they would have really meant a lot more. As a result, a film with over one hour of dance will irritate dance fanatics with the unnecessary story, and will be bemoaned by movie lovers who want more of that story. Moreover, as surprisingly malleable as Tango is, it can not in of itself tell a story. At one point an anxious Mario reflects on what there is of his dilemma and says something to the effect of "I've lost a woman, now I've fallen for another. Is it love, or is just obsession. How can I dramatize this (make a dance of it)? No, this is just silly. It can't be dramatized". That's sound advice. Saura should have listened."