A documentary about the desire
to get closer to oneself
through the embrace with a stranger.

52 min, 2017

Does tango make one happy or lonely? This is unclear. What is clear is that it is addictive. Singles find people they can embrace. Couples reignite a flare. Tango is a spectacle when mastered, especially as the dancers are exquisitely costumed.

The scene is exploding worldwide. Why do people from diverse regions and cultures – Germans, Italians, French, Russians, Chinese, Americans, among the many – crave arousal in the distinct art form and social milieu of Argentine tango? Confessed “Tangoholics” dance several times a week. It is an addiction to be sure, but one that is prideful rather than shameful. Access to the tango scene is proof that your excruciating, hard work has been rewarded. By contrast, if you are a dilettante, you will fail on the dance floor, you will remain the silent, mournful, neutered observer. It takes years of training to even come close to mastering tango. But for the embrace, for the belonging, no effort is too much.

Even if the music varies, its essence is always the same – from the rehashed tangos of old to brand new compositions, whether Vals or Milonga, fast-paced or slow, tango has a single, unyielding, unbending demand – that all songs must be sad and melancholic, so that night after night, closely embraced couples can enjoy themselves in shared grief. The intensity and sensuality of this beautiful pleasure justifies the grueling training, obedience to strict gender roles and hierarchical rules. Tango strengthens sorrows and at the same time promises consolation.

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