Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Finally someone's made a film about the social tango of Buenos Aires, and got it released. In fact it was the finalist at the Via Emilia Documentary Festival, and it was released on YouTube, free for everyone to watch, yesterday. Some scenes are in Maipu 444, so clearly it's been some years in the making. There's some wonderful dancing. A lot of the time the dancers' feet aren't shown, so there's a real emphasis on torso movement, the wonderful smooth flowing movements that follow so closely and effortlessly the phrases of the music. If you've never had a chance to visit the milongas of Buenos Aires now's your chance to meet Ricardo Suarez, 'El flaco' Dany, Alberto Dassieu, 'El Nene' and many more, and when people ask you about 'tango', it's easy: just direct them to this film. & if you know the milongas and the dancers you'll be grateful to remember them through this production. Sadly it's subtitled in Italian, since it's an Italian production, but the heart comes through.
(Thanks to viaemiliadocfest.)

PS. The two comments say that this film has been withdrawn, but it's more than that: the whole channel, the Via Emilia Documentary Festival channel, the (presumably) official festival channel with some 20-odd documentaries on it, has closed. It doesn't seem as if as if this film was an illegal pirate version. 

I guess there are two possibilities: that they are working on their channel in order to upgrade it, or that (more likely) there are unforeseen copyright problems. Either way, it's very frustrating that when a really enjoyable film on the best social dance in Buenos Aires appears freely, it mysteriously vanishes again. 

I don't think this is the only such film that's unavailable. It seems crazy that people go through the labour of love to put these things together and then there's no DVD deal to get returns on the investment, and certainly little chance of a big cinema release either. So the film disappears and might never have been made.


gyb said...

The link is dead.. have you had the chance to save it?

Paul said...

The video has been removed by the YouTube account holder. For those interested, here are a couple of tantalizingly incomplete exchanges I jotted down while it was still viewable:

Ricardo Suarez (RS): I started before the 40s, it was in 1924. At family parties, we danced...in those times, in short trousers

Interviewer: How did you learn to dance back then?

RS: by watching! There weren’t any teachers. At that time, there were no teachers. We used to dance at street corners, in each others’ houses with other boys. And I still dance today pretty much as I did back then when I was 13 years old. And from then till today, I continued dancing in the same way without teachers, doing what I felt inside, because that’s the important thing, isn’t it?

Interviewer: If you had to say what the difference was between the milongas of 30 or 40 years ago that you used to go to and those of today, what would you say are the main differences?

Eduardo Masci: Well, in the past there were codes, more respect shown to each other...people didn’t go and invite a woman at her table.