6.8/10
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The Tango Lesson (1997)

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1:53 | Trailer
A scriptwriter comes to Paris to work on her film. There she takes up tango lessons and forms a relationship with the dancer.

Director:

Sally Potter

Writer:

Sally Potter
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Potter ... Sally
Morgane Maugran Morgane Maugran ... Red Model
Géraldine Maillet Géraldine Maillet ... Yellow Model
Katerina Mechera Katerina Mechera ... Blue Model
David Toole David Toole ... Fashion Designer
George Antoni George Antoni ... Photographer (as George Yiasoumi)
Michele Parent Michele Parent ... Seamstress
Claudine Mavros Claudine Mavros ... Seamstress
Monique Couturier Monique Couturier ... Seamstress
Matthew Hawkins Matthew Hawkins ... Bodyguard
Simon Worgan Simon Worgan ... Bodyguard
Pablo Verón Pablo Verón ... Pablo
Carolina Iotti Carolina Iotti ... Pablo's partner
Zobeida Zobeida ... Pablo's Friend
Orazio Massaro Orazio Massaro ... Pablo's Friend
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Storyline

On a trip to Paris Sally meets Pablo, a tango dancer. He starts teaching her to dance then she returns to London to work on some "projects". She visits Buenos Aires and learns more from Pablo's friends. Sally & Pablo meet again but this time their relationship changes, she realises they want different things from each other. On a trip to Buenos Aires they cement their friendship. Written by David Morgans <in2023@wlv.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tango | dance | model | filmmaker | dancing | See All (44) »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief language and some violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | Argentina | Germany | Netherlands | USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

14 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La lección de tango See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,752, 16 November 1997

Gross USA:

$1,080,192

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,080,192
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the bathtub scene, she is reading "I and Thou" by philosopher Martin Buber. See more »

Quotes

Sally: How did you choose the tango?
Pablo: I didn't. The tango chose me.
See more »


Soundtracks

I Am You
Composed By Homero Manzi, Sebastián Piana
Vocals, Lyrics By Sally Potter
Performers:
Bandoneon by Néstor Marconi
Cello by Yo-Yo Ma
Guitar: Horacio Malviccino
Piano: Leonardo D. Marconi
Violin: Antonio Agri
See more »

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User Reviews

Chess for the feet ... but not much for the brain
17 August 2002 | by SilentTypeSee all my reviews

`Tango is like chess for your feet' Sally Potter claimed during the publicity for this, a film that she wrote, directed, and starred in as a tango dancing director called - strangely enough - Sally. Like the screen Sally, the real Potter also learned from Pablo Veron, also her co-star. If only the film was as cogent and searching as her intelligent definititon of a fascinating dance!

As a keen tango dancer myself, I was eager to see the committed to celluloid the intricacies of a dance which is part improvisational game, part physical conversation, and as much an exercise for the mind as for the body. A lot of work goes into becoming an excellent and effortless `tanguista', and there is much more to tango than most people realise.

Turning her story into a roman a clef, does not make it experimental or postmodern, as appears to have be intended, but in fact regresses to the self-referential musicals of yesteryear such as `Singing in the Rain'. As long as there has been art, there has been art about art, and art about creative blocks. Though such an approach can create masterpieces (such as Fellini's 8 1/2), it can also create ponderous excuses for not creating original art.

Worse still, it can come off as an act of monstrous narcissism. Potter is a stunning dancer, and it is understandable that she wished to play the main role on that count, but in all other respects she is merely adequate (and her singing, in the final scene, quite inadequate). Potter berates Veron in the film for not trusting her to be lead by him; by not trusting another actor to play her part, Potter is doing exactly the same thing.

Thus the film plays out like a rather dull overheard conversation that one might idly listen to on the bus but not miss once you reached your stop. Tango is a dance in which the female must follow unquestioningly, adding little of her own input, occasionally stepping back to let the alpha male shine. The tensions that this has with a woman who is a film director and feminist, used to leading and guiding, rebelling against traditional roles of male and female, might have been fascinating. Instead, it all seems a playful act of revenge against Pablo: in film, she gets to lead, not him.

Though tantalising ideas leap out from time to time (the influence the tango had on her creativity is something touched upon but unfortunately not explored), and as always her visuals are sumptuous, I found the film a disappointment overall.


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