DER Documentary

Subtango, The Spirit of Tango


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by Sofia Vaccaro
color, 59 min, 2000





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A journey to the Buenos Aires underground tango culture, where the elusive soul of tango is to be found…

Even after a century of history, after enshrinement as the national music, after rampant commercialization and packaging for export, the tango still speaks to the Argentine soul. Subtango shows how tango music, dance, art and poetry are an essential part of the emotional expression of regular people, featuring the gamblers, ramblers and barroom prophets of the Buenos Aires night, playing weather-beaten accordions and singing old tangos of heartbreak and resentment.

Through interviews with the citizens of this subterranean world, the film expands on the tango’s lugubrious aesthetic, the origins of its melodramatic lyrics in the laments of alienated immigrants, the sensuality and profound communication of its dance. The film explores the faded old bars where the nightcrawlers of Buenos Aires come to dance and drink amidst the peeling paint and thick clouds of smoke.

Subtango is a portrait of that world of tango that lies closest to the true meaning of what tango is in Argentina.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Tulipanes Latino Art & Film Festival, Michigan, 2007
Discovering Latin America Film Festival, London, 2004
Derhumalc International Film Festival Tour, 2003
Foro Social Mundial Porto Alegre; Cinemateca Montevideo, 2003
Verdocumentales - Argentina Documentary Festival at Centro Cultural Gral San Martín de Buenos Aires, 2003
Best Documentary Aesthetic International Documentary Film Festival Tres Continentes, 2002
Ii Festival Of The Iberoamerican Culture, Moscow, 2001
Iv Festival Of New Latin America, Cine Las Americas, Austin- Texas, 2001
Xxii International Festival Of The New Latin-American Cinema, Havana, 2000
Vii Latin-American Video Festival, ROSARIO, September, 2000

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