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The Tango Lesson (1997)

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.


Sally Potter


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





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
Carolina Iotti Carolina Iotti ... Pablo's partner
Zobeida Zobeida ... Pablo's Friend
Orazio Massaro Orazio Massaro ... Pablo's Friend


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) »


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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


Sally: It doesn't suit me to follow. It suits me to lead, and you can't deal with that.
See more »


Red. Yellow, Blue
Composed By Fred Frith, Sally Potter
Performed by Thomas Bloch (Ondes Martenot, Percussion [Cristal Baschet]), Fred Frith (Guitar, Bass)
Vocals by Sally Potter
See more »

User Reviews

Feminist Review
6 May 2007 | by torigemi3See all my reviews

Sally Potter is one of the most respected names in feminist film. The Tango Lesson, while very different from any of her earlier works, seems to be a really personal, even autobiographical film. It's about a middle-aged British filmmaker named Sally Potter. More recent productions have abandoned prudery towards women's bodies and moved to "the other side" of visual pleasure. The film shows Sally's own personal involvement with Tango. Its original purpose of something fun, new, exciting and stress relief from her routine life soon became an obsession causing several conflicts.

The relevance of feminism in the film is blatantly present. A conflict scene in the film is between characters Sally and her Tango partner, teacher and love interest Pablo Veron. The back and fourth arguments are the strongest representation of a feminist point of view in a relationship. After Sally's first Tango performance with Pablo they are involved in a confrontation. Pablo's issue with Sally is that he is the leader and she was to follow which in his eyes she was not doing during the performance. The feminist thought and idea is that men lead woman. Sally replies to this by saying "you danced like a soloist". She said that no emotions were involved in the dance sequence which is extremely important in order to create a believable and interesting performance.

The fact that they were involved in a personal relationship outside of the dancing did not help the situation. Pablo's character was an alpha male who fell for a woman whose strength and power intimidated him. I noticed in the film in several scenes in his house in the bathroom, on top of the fire place, and in the dressing room, Pablo was placed in front of a mirror. His obsession with himself intrigues Sally to a near jealous streak. She is envious of his confidence. He is also in control of the language spoken between the two of them. They both speak French, Spanish and English. When they are not dancing as business partners and enter their personal relationship they speak French. Pablo unable to speak very well English prefers not to while conversing with Sally.

Sally Potter was not considered what society considers beautiful. She was an older woman who dressed moderately, did not wear makeup, and did not possess a voluptuous body. "The gaze" in television and movies is a serious issue for our society. Woman are considered spectacles used as objects of visual and physical pleasure. The director's gaze is present in the film because she represents and analyzes our visual culture in how men and woman perceive each other.

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UK | France | Argentina | Germany | Netherlands | USA


English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

14 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La lección de tango See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,752, 16 November 1997

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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