Tango on a Visit
Documentary, 52 min
online viewing at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/tangoonavisit
A documentary about the desire
to get closer to oneself
through the embrace with a stranger.
Five young dancers dive into the sensual world of Tango, far from its Argentinian homeland – in the Black Forest. All are single. All submit to the erotic spell of the passionate and melancholic dance. All seek to be joined as one with the ideal partner, and to be admired as well as desired for their beauty, elegance and perfection. All are addicted to the kick, getting high through the embrace of strangers.
The eroticism is staged, but the proximity is real. The perfect tango face masks inner conflict. How does a dancer negotiate the fragile border between playing a rigid gender role and actually becoming that role? “Tango on a Visit” explores the tensions between artifice and reality in this unique subculture. The film’s protagonists represent various aspects of this struggle. Ruben is happy about the clear gender roles, while Susanna would like to have more gender equality. Christian enjoys the ephemeral contacts with women, but Helena, is looking for real encounters. Joscha, in turn, is unconcerned about human relations on the dance floor. He wants to make tango his profession, to make money.
“Tango on a Visit” is an affectionate and at times comedic portal into a subculture that is every bit as brutal as it is beautiful. The tango scene is ruled by a small class of hard core Tangoistas. Wannabes are viewed with arrogance and contempt by the accomplished dancers who practiced years to get where they are and to earn admission into their special society. Nothing is worse than being stuck on the dance floor with a stumbling fool, risking being brought down to the incompetent’s level, while attempting to maintain the dignity and elegance of one’s perfected Tango persona. No one wants to miss out on the dizzying, eroticized kick that a great dance brings, but which is only possible with a partner of equal mastery. At the same time, the arrogance sends a signal for those unworthy dancers to keep away. Is the pain worth it for a great dancer – an “unapproachable one” – returning home alone, after the music has fallen silent?
Happy or unhappy? A round of Milonga leads us through the whole love drama from the fresh desire to the wistful farewell pain. After this Tango film, you know why five young people are lonely together in a highly aesthetic and touching way.