“Tango in all its states” and in all its brilliance on France 3


This immersion in the tango culture, music and dance mixed, is led by Andre Manoukian. He leads this film, written and directed by Nathan Benisty, introducing and commenting, not without enthusiasm, on the different sequences. From the evocation of Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) and his famous Volovercreated in 1934, to that, long and rich, ofAstor Piazzolla (1921-1992) – of which many hits irrigate the documentary – this bias sets the original tone of this documented and educational escape, in this teeming world born on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, in Buenos Aires (Argentina), but also in Montevideo (Uruguay), at the end of the XIXand century.

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The chronological progression first recalls the varied origins of the word “tango”. It is the enclosure in which Africans waited before being sold into slavery, then becomes the party ground for slaves in Buenos Aires. But it is also said to be derived from the Spanish word “drum” which means “drum”. But curiously, underlines Manoukian, no percussions in the traditional orchestras which pack a movement whose roots would be the Cuban habanera, but also the waltz and certain peasant dances of the south of Europe.

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The story is based on numerous archive images. In 1914, when the First World War broke out in Europe, the tango, danced between men by the thugs of Buenos Aires, in a city populated by immigrants where women made up only a quarter of the population, began to establish its codes. It becomes this intensely sophisticated and sexual pas de deux whose learning requires patience and meticulousness, as well as an impeccable talent for partnership.

Offset gestures

The musical and choreographic illustrations that punctuate the film sometimes give pride of place to quirky gestures. That of the choreographer Maurice Bejart (1927-2007), who interpreted a tango in the 1970s, or that, more contemporary, of Bruno Bouché, director of the Ballet of the Opéra national du Rhin, underline the way in which the tango has spread in the creations and repertoires of all styles. From jazz to electro, from variety to rock, Charles Trenet, Tino Rossi, Enrico Macias but also Bernard Lavilliers or Imany slipped into its supple and hectic cadences.

Closer to a TV show, by the way, Tango in all its states savored as a loving homage to this culture, became intangible cultural heritage of humanity at Unesco since 2009, and whose fans are growing all over the world. All the same, this program lacks a real “mouth of atmosphere”, that of the many milongas of Buenos Aires where dancers of all ages and countries find themselves elbow to elbow to get drunk on his wildly tangled steps.

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Tango in all its states, musical and cultural program directed by Nathan Benisty, presented by André Manoukian (Fr., 2022, 90 min). Broadcast on France 3.

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“Tango in all its states” and in all its brilliance on France 3

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