Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A cameo appearance

Sally Potter, director and star of "The Tango Lesson", posted on her blog about watching three couples dance an exhibition at Nino Bien one night:

At a milonga called ‘Nino Bien’ that we visited on our last night, three couples performed at 2am (normal timing for such things in Buenos Aires, the most night-oriented city I know). The first couple performed with all the rapid fire athletic skill we have come to expect from ‘Nuevo tango’ or in most of the virtuoso tango shows. It was impressive but kept one at a distance, the distance of admiration. Then a tall, thin, older man affectionately known as ‘Flacco’ (the thin one) performed his speciality, an agile milonga, fast rhythmic and old school. It was touching and impressive in a different way.

Finally an elderly couple slowly walked out onto the floor. The stooped man began by bending down and gently kissing his short plump wife on the lips. Then they began a delicate, subtle, un-showy tango together, saturated with tenderness, with pauses and silences full of ‘waiting’ (a compliment by older dancers in the tango world where frantic activity is frowned on as an inability to truly listen to the phrasing in the music.) Tears streamed down my face as I watched their tiny, delicate steps, the gentle flow of their movement, the embodiment of the sad beauty of age and experience, a life shared, bodies that have suffered in nameless ways and now transcend their difficulties with beauty.

When they finished the crowded hall erupted in applause, a collective roar of approval. As the couple left the floor I could see that the man was struggling for breath, a longstanding condition of some kind.

Nights like these induce the love for Buenos Aires that tango lyrics express. The city somehow feels like a long-lost companion, an ageing lover…yes, my darling Buenos Aires, you feel like singing, I may leave you but |I will surely return.

Great piece of evocative, nostalgic writing....I wonder who was the elderly couple who made the cameo appearance (and made Sally cry)?  And when can we expect the movie to come out?

Here they are performing at Glorias Argentinas last weekend:


Tangocommuter said...

Thanks for that wonderful story from the SP blog. I've thought before how wonderful it would have been if she'd been swept off her feet by Ricardo Vidort, rather than Pablo Vernon! We might have got a film from the mid-90s with Ricardo, Gavito, Tete, Osvaldo and others, and our milongas would be quite different. But I don't think Ricardo would have looked so happy dancing in the rain as Pablo Veron...

I also noticed on her blog that she's aiming to have her archives online later this year. I wonder if she has research material filmed in BsAs milongas. It's possible, and could be interesting.

PS Love the drawings!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Tangocommuter,

Thanks for the lovely idea of "Sally Potter and the Milongueros" - too bad that it wasn't the case when she actually made the movie! Perhaps she could be convinced to do another movie with all the dancers (still alive - oh my god) we traditionalists would want to see? We could only hope.

On a similar note, Man Yung claims that if Sally Potter had met him instead of Pablo Veron, it would have been a very different "The Tango Lesson" indeed (probably with a lot more Kung Fu in it!)

Thanks for your comment,

Irene and Man Yung

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