Tango Passion – Tango in Berlin
Tango music by Piazolla & other composers
rec. various locations, Germany, 2015 (and 2011?)
NTSC 16.9; Region Code 0 (worldwide); PCM Stereo.
EUROARTS DVD 2061508 [83.00]
The heading Tango Passion, for me, in this context, is something of a misnomer. Passionate it may be in the sense of commitment but not in the usual connotation of thrilling, sexy music and movement that sets the blood thundering and the pulse racing. This Berlin Tango is a hybrid, a subculture, the tango reinvented into a more cerebral abstract dance notation. As one on-screen commentator remarks it draws “… on the Buenos Aires treasure and refined …” The documentary covers tangos for both stage and salon. Although one may be thankful that the tango at least gets couples dancing together holding each other rather than disco apartness, the Berlin refinement is unemotional and looks, in the shots of numerous couples dancing, just like a typical ballroom scene. More interesting shots of specific tango-skilled couples show more balletic stances and movements with just the occasional suggestions of unbridled passion.
The booklet that accompanies the DVD is a sparse 4-page publication with dense small point typography detailing the very, very numerous participating dancers and musicians. Since this is an essentially music site I have chosen not to list them all because I have to assume that they would only be of interest to very keen tango aficionados.
The documentary includes some tango oddities, including a tango underwater and tangos for same-sex couples – sexless but taking advantage of female or male physical attributes. Interviews, particularly those with tango instrumentalists, are sometimes tedious and would have been better more strictly edited. The one with the bandoneon for instance is hesitant and repetitive but interesting in its explanations of construction, history of usage and its important contribution to the dance. The interview about the guitar’s design, make and tango contribution is more pithy. An interesting remark is contributed by a female dancer who clearly loves the tango. She asserts that it “… allowed me to discover my femininity and womanhood …”
The moody colour photography is nicely lit to suit mood and the sound recording is very good. Interviewee and dancer captions are minute and too briefly shown to absorb.