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The Tango Lesson

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United Kingdom, France, Argentina · 1997
Rated PG · 1h 40m
Director Sally Potter
Starring Sally Potter, Morgane Maugran, Pablo Verón, Géraldine Maillet
Genre Drama, Music, Romance

Sally is a screenwriter who travels to Paris during a bout of writer’s block. She meets Pablo, a tango dancer, and offers him a part in her next film in exchange for dance lessons. The two become partners in more ways than one in this semi-autobiographical film that explores gender roles and power dynamics.

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What are critics saying?


The New York Times by Janet Maslin

Stiffly playing a filmmaker with a growing passion for the tango, she makes this a handsome, drily meticulous film with no real fire anywhere beyond its supple dance scenes.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

The Tango Lesson is about as far away from Al Pacino’s Scent of a Woman hotdogging as you can get; it really is about the scent of a woman, in all her fascinating peculiarity.


Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

The Tango Lesson is ponderously scripted and stiffly acted, and though the narrative causes the characters to skip continents and languages (the story bounces from Paris to Buenos Aires to London and back) little of the passion that drives this story is conveyed.


CineVue by Patrick Gamble

Despite being exquisitely shot and flowing with an inescapably graceful stride that seems in accordance with the film's titular dance, The Tango Lesson works far better as a deconstruction of the creative process than it does as a satire on the industry.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

Most dances are for people who are falling in love. The tango is a dance for those who have survived it, and are still a little angry about having their hearts so mishandled. The Tango Lesson is a movie for people who understand that difference.

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