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Bishops Castle Film Society

Glories of Tango - 10th Jan 2018

Hernan Findling, Argentina, 2014, 117m

We’ve shown several Argentinian films over the years (eg Las Acacias, The Secret in Their Eyes) and Glories of Tango promises to be another good one.  Funny, sad, touching discreetly on Argentina’s troubled past, it’s full of wonderful music.  Don’t think Strictly Come Dancing, think traditional tango, skilful, almost severe and all the more sexy for that.  One of the directors, Oliver Kolker, who also wrote the script is himself a talented tango dancer.  See e.g. U-Tube: Oliver Kolker and Yuliana Basmajyan Milonga.


Glories of Tango belongs to a genre of Argentinean cinema which … has roots in magic realism literature and the surrealist filmmaking of Luis Buñuel.   It centers on a shy psychiatrist who investigates the most mysterious patient at the public hospital where he's begun a four-year residency. The patient is an 85-year-old man who for decades has spoken only in lyrics to old tango songs. What made this man lose his mind? The movie—scripted by Oliver Kolker and directed by Kolker and Hernan Findling—reveals the old man's past in nonchronological flashbacks as the psychiatrist delves into the story. He learns that the old man was the star of his local dance hall in the 1940s, that he married the most beautiful girl in town, and has some buried secrets related to the 1970s military dictatorship.
The revelations become more dramatic as the story proceeds, and the segues between past and present become more inventive. It's in these qualities that Tango Glories harkens back to the surrealist tradition, as the narrative charts the discovery of a hidden world beneath our own. … Kolker and Findling establish a fun, self-aware style grounded in playful camera movements reminiscent of movie musicals and warm, shadowy cinematography that suggests the narrative is playing out in an attic or a fort made of blankets.
In between the flashbacks, the psychiatrist starts changing his own story. As he meets with the old man's family members and former colleagues, he ingratiates himself in the local tango scene. It turns out that the old man's granddaughter is a tango instructor. She's also a vivacious, unmarried woman around the psychiatrist's own age. Will this lifelong mama's boy finally enter the dating scene?
[Ben Sachs, chicagoreader.com 14 January 2014]



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