Archive for the ‘ Tango In Film ’ Category

1969, December 4 – Goyeneche Records “BALLADA PARA UN LOCO”

In the classic film “King of Hearts” (1966) the residents of a small French village during World War I leave because the Germans plan to bomb the village…the inmates of the local insane asylum take over the village and create a festive, gay, surreal, make belief atmosphere totally oblivious to the war; the message of the film is, perhaps normal people are more crazy than those in the asylum…it is precisely this film which inspired Horacio Ferrer to write music…when the piece was premiered by Amelia Baltazar at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival, it created a great controversy because many did not see it as real tango and even hissed at it while Amelia was singing it…it was leading in the voting on the final day but the controversy forced the judges to give it second place instead…when “Balada Para Un Loco” was recorded, it was a great hit selling over 200,000 in the first week alone

***

Horacio Ferrer was born June 2, 1933 in Montevideo, Uruguay (Gemini) to a cultured family; his father was a professor of history and his mother, who was eleven years older than his father, spoke four languages…already as a child, he started writing his first poems, simple plays and even milongas to which he accompanied himself on guitar…at the age of 20 his was invited to participate on a weekly radio program called “A Selection of Tangos”…he soon started a groundbreaking magazine called “Tangueando” which he wrote and illustrated himself…in 1970 he wrote “Book of the Tango, Peoples Art of  Buenos Aires”its three volumes and more than 2000 pages is one of the most complete works on tango in history…he has collaborated with Astor Piazzolla on a number of hits; one writer called them “the Lennon – MaCarthy team of tango”

_____________________

  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DBmUoy6Q2c to hear Roberto “Polaco” Goyeneche sing one of his great hits “Ballada Para Un Loco” with lyrics by Horacio Ferrer and music by Astor Piazzolla
Advertisements

1993, November 30 – PREMIERE, “SCHINDLER’S LIST”

The classic tango “Por Una Cabeza” written by Carlos Gardel in 1935, is playing as Oskar Shindler is entering the night club to meet all the Nazi officials…”Schindler’s List” is a film about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, a greedy war profiteer, the unlikeliest of all role models who then employs his skills and spends vast sums of his money to save thousands of Polish jews and risking his life in the process….the film’s soundtrack includes  “Ostatnia Niedziela” (Death Tango) which was played as jews were led to their death in nazi gas chambers…Shindler’s List, directed by Steven Speilberg, is based on the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally…it Stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Goth and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern…

***

The film was a box office success and recipient of seven academy awards including “Best Picture”, “Best Director” and “Best Original Score” as well as numerous other awards (7 BAFTAs, 3 Golden Globes)…In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its ”List of the 100 Best American Films of All Time”…The lyrics of “Por Una Cabeza” speak of a compulsive horse track gambler who compares his addiction for horses to his attraction for women; Carlos Gardel was himself, a compulsive race horse gambler…the version in Schindler’s List, by the Rococo Quartet, is in the eyes of many, the best version ever after the original…Por Una Cabeza has been used in numerous films including the legendary, Scent of a Woman, where Al Pacino, as a blind, retired army colonel, dances to it…Interestingly, the most recognizable portion of the melody is borrowed from Mozart’s Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C, K. 373 (about two-thirds of the way through the piece)….tango has a strong jewish influence; two of its greatest, Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, were of Italian jewish origin

__________________

  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FOUTWbu5WM to see the scene where Oskar Schindler walks in to the night club with“Por Una Cabeza” playing in the background…this is a version which has been modified from the original which was only an instrumental…in the eyes of many this is actually an improvement over the original

1913, November 17 – KAISER WILHELM BANS TANGO !

Then Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany forbade his officers to dance the tango while in uniform, describing the dance as “Rinnsteinkind”, (a child of the curbstone)…but tango was all the rage among the high classes especially in Germany…it was fashionable to throw elegant “Tango Tea Parties” but it began to incur the wrath of government and church leaders….Cardinal Amette in Paris declared that “Christians should not in good conscience take part in it.”…Pope Benedict XV complained “An outrageous, indecent, heathen dance, which is an assassination of family and social life”...Despite these bans the tango survived, particularly through the First World War, as people sought distractions from the horrors of war.

***

Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered left arm; the result of having been a breech baby and perhaps to compensate he was militaristic and a megalomaniac who was almost never out of military uniform …until relatively recently, historians believed that his ineptness as a statesman was the cause of World War I…The Kaiser’s severest royal critic was also Europe’s most respected royal, Queen Victoria…Eight years later he would have equally disdainful things to say about the premier of “The Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse” with Rodolfo Valentino…In a letter to her daughter, Wilhelm’s mother, the British queen described her least favorite grandson as “a hot-headed, conceited, and wrong-headed young man, devoid of all feelings…very unhealthy and unnatural state of mind.”

__________________

  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npqVXIqdj8E to listen to “Micaela” a tango composed in the 1930s by Ludwig Schmidseder who trained as a banker to please his father but secretly took piano lessons…he found himself in Rio De Janeiro washing dishes but eventually formed a musical trio and went on to become a renown composer

2000, October 27 – PREMIERE OF “MALENA”

It was the film “Malena” that launched Monica Bellucci into the sultry, alluring, international sex star..she is a pheromone in the film effusing eroticism, sensuality, femininity and danger…one reviewer said that only Italy manages to produce women who are at the same time beautiful, sensual, intelligent and real…presumably, that somehow manage to not believe their own publicity; Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale come to mind…in one interview when Monica is asked about dealing with ageing when she is routinely described as one of movie history’s great beauties she said; “those are things that others say, not me, inside I am just a woman like all other women”…perhaps more than anything it was the scene in “Malena” in which Bellucci, alone in her house, in a suffused, surreal light, nude from the waist up, squeezes a lemon over her torso and rubs the lemon juice over her breasts that chiseled her image into the world’s libido…there is of course, a tango scene albeit a somewhat comic one…

***

She and her lawyer Centorbi dance a tango in Malena’s house after he has managed to acquit her in a trial where she is accused of adultry…he chases her into her bedroom in lieu for his extravagant fees which she cannot pay and forcibly has sex with  her…Malena later turns to prostitution to survive; Bellucci also plays the prostitute Mary Madalene in “The Passion of Christ” and the prostitute Sylvia in “Brotherhood of the Wolf”…in an interview she said, “perhaps all women have a secret wish to be a prostitute if only just once”…the legendary Tita Merello was one of the few women who admitted to having once worked as a prostitute to survive…”Malena” has been called a cross between “Nuovo Cine Paradiso” and Fellini’s “Amarcord”; the common theme is the adolescent whose nascent sexuality is inflamed by an older woman…both “Nuovo Cine Paradiso” and Malena were directed by Sicilian director Giuseppe Tornatore; who won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1989 …”Malena” was nominated for “Best Musical Score” which was composed by the renown Ennio Morricone

___________________

1957, October 21 – PREMIERE OF “AND GOD CREATED WOMAN”

Like Rodolfo Valentino, dancing tango turned Brigitte Bardot into a sex symbol and a legendary star; albeit a stylized tango in a caribbean style rythm…the memorable scene, in the film “And God Created Woman” in 1956 in which she dances wildly in a bar frequented by prostitutes, titillated male audiences and became one of the most provocative scenes in cinematic history…Bardot’s explosive sexuality turned her into an international sex symbol…Bardot had an affair with co-starr Jean Louis Trintignant even though she was married director Roger Vadim….it was Vadim who discovered her and through personal and directorial influcence created the legend “Brigitte Bardot”; she would later divorce him…she was to say many years later, “he taught me to be free and as a result I left him for another man”…Bardot would have a continuous flow of lovers and several marriages…it was in her marriage to actor Jacques Charrier that she had her only child of whom she said, “I was not ready to be a mother”…he was raised by his father

***

Vadim had seen her by chance in Elle Magazine where she appeared as a then 15 year old model and began to  purse her….her father strenuously objected at one point threatening Vadim with a gun…Bardot would later say that it was the trauma from this incident, that would be the cause of her sucide attempts including the one where she slashes her wrists and takes a copious number of sleeping pills…she grew up in an observant catholic home; her father was an engineer and her mother had studied dancing and encouraged these interests in the young Bardot…in her early years Bardo dreamed of being a ballet dancer…at the age of 40 Bardot appeared in Playboy in a nude layout…Bob Dylan would dedicate to her, the first song he ever composed….in later years, besides being know for her animal rights campaign, she made headlines with her comments against homeless people, homosexuals and moslem immigration and influence in her country…the French philosopher and writer Simone De Beauvoir called her a “Locomotive of women’s history…the most liberated woman in post war France”

___________________

1965, October 3 – BIRTH OF ROXANA FONTAN

At the age of nine Roxana Fontan’s father exposed her to Discepolo, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo and Herman Hesse; “this is how I discovered tango” she recalls…perhaps it was this fertile influence that would one day turn Roxana (Libra) into one of the most gifted and versatile and tango singers in history…she is not only a singer, but an actress, a dancer as well as a producer and director…she grew up in a cultured and musical home; her grandfather had been a guitarist with a celebrated tango quartet…Roxana’s first musical heroines were Barbara Streisand and Sarah Vaughn but as a young girl, she dreamt of a career as an opera singer…she devoted herself to studying voice, theater and music but as a practical matter she studied advertising design…she managed to get a job as a graphic designer and she had attained security during times of great uncertainty but animated by the evening folk sessions with her doting grandfather, another voice inside beguiled her…she finally made the courageous decision to leave her secure job and seek her career as a singer…

***

Her first gigs were in small neighborhood clubs…her heroines were the women who were both singers and actresses like Tita Merello, Virginia Luque and Libertad Lamarque…a break occurred when, still in her teen years, she was invited to sing on the renown program Grande Valores Del Tango…other invitations followed including Juan Carlos Copes’  “Pesada Del Tango”…it is Copes whom she credits for having flowered her ability to act and dance as well…in 1998 she was selected to sing Tita Merello’s signature piece “Se Dice De Mi” in Carlos Saura’s classic film “Tango”…still later she was invited by Miguel Angel Zotto to perform with his renown company Tango x 2…in Japan she received ecstatic reviews from the public and critics alike when she toured there with singer Carlos Morel…after a long career at home and abroad, she released her first solo album, “Se Dice De Mi” acclaimed in particular for her rendition of Horacio Pettorossi’s waltz “Noches De Atenas”….in 2007 she created and directed her own tango show which premiered at the Peter North Symphony Space in New York…consistent with a gentle, sensitive, unassuming nature she is a practising buddhist and a lover and writer of poetry in her own right…along the way she found romance with renown dancer Pablo Garcia

______________________

1977, September 22 – PREMIERE OF “SOLDIER OF ORANGE”

 “We were looking for a situation in which to bring the hero and the anti-hero of the film together and came up with the tango.” said director Paul Verhoeven …he had remembered Jack Lemmon and Joe E Brown dancing tango together in Billy Wilder’s 1959 film “Some Like It Hot”; there was the answer…“I grew up admiring that scene” recalls Verhoeven…his other inspiration was Bertolucci’s “Last Tango In Paris”…considered as one of the best European films in history, “Soldier of Orange” is about a group of friends in the Netherlands and how the onset of World War II leads them to different paths…two of those friends, Erik played Rutger Hauer and Alex played by Derek De Lint have widely divergent fates; Erik works for the resistance and Alex becomes an SS Officer…

***

Eric, as an undercover spy, runs into Alex at a Nazi dance party where they dance a tango together during which Alex says, “It’s a pity we are not fighting on the same side”, “yes, it’s a pity” answers Eric…The film is based on the memoir “Soldaat Van Oranje”, the personal World War II experiences of writer Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema who helped supervise the film…the film had a budget of 5 million dollars at the time the most expensive film in Dutch history…it went on to win numerous awards including a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film”…in 2006 Rutger Hauer would write, direct and narrate the critically acclaimed, short film “Starfish Tango”

__________________