A seasoned woman from the world of show business, recruits 11 Romanian dancers dreaming of fame and glory to take them to Paris. One of them decides to leave her husband, but he doesn't take it very well and starts on a journey to get back his wife and plenty of hilarious things happen along the way.Written by
Romanians use to call the period after the fall of the communism in 1989 'the transition'. A time of change of course, but also and mostly a time of confusion. Woken up from the sleep of the dictatorship and repression, the majority of the Romanian had a hard time to adapt to a world that has progressed ahead for decades, and fell into cynicism and despair seeing corruption and demagogy dominating many aspects of the national and day-to-day life. Many of the younger people found the solution in leaving Romania, and the story of this film traces the road from Bucharest to the Western border of Romania of such a group of young women who signed up for a contract as striptease dancers and entertainers in France.
Transition created a genre in the Romanian cinema, and this film realized a decade ago by director Nae Caranfil is a transition film by itself. On one hand we do find many of the features of the older (and not very successful) Romanian cinema, with the tendency for character comedy and very much based on the talent of popular actors. On the other hand we can detect first signs of what will become a few years later 'the new Romanian vague' with the accent on subtle social commentary, with the cynicism of the newly learned freedom, with the comic moments sliding into sarcasm rather than cheap effects.
It is also fascinating to see two so different stars, coming from such different acting schools like Charlotte Rampling and Mircea Diaconu facing one another. The abyss between their styles is the abyss between their worlds, and the efforts of communication beyond words bring them eventually together into appreciation. 'Asphalt Tango' is an imperfect and transitory film and a transitory period, but is certainly a snapshot not only of the recent history of Romania, but also of the evolution of the Romanian cinema.
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