Movie review by Anna Payton
Director: German Kral
Cinematography: Jo Heim, Felix Monti
Without further ado Our Last Tango is a magnificent and cinematographically striking visual feast for tired eyes. The director, German Kral, generously offers an intimate insight into captivating lives of Maria Nieves and Juan Copes, the two most famous Argentine dancers in the tango’s history, who met as teenagers and continued to dance together for over 40 years, until the agonising separation tore them apart.
During 50s-70s they embarked on a victorious mission to revive the otherwise forgotten tango, thus gaining a worldwide recognitions for their contributions. Alas, successful in tango, unlucky in love, their explosive affair, marriage and subsequent separation, are the subject of this gem of a documentary.
The film’s poetic mode, elegantly portrays their passionate love for tango and for each other. The film is lavished with compelling, spectacular reconstructions of the peaks and valleys of their fiery relationship and extraordinary professional career interpreted in noteworthy, dazzling performance of young Buenos Aires tango dancers and choreographers. Those dazzling dance sequences mixed with insightful interviews with Maria and Juan, their emotional narrative voice overs, and dancers’ own melancholy reflexions, add surprisingly fresh type of novelty to the standard documentary format.
Both dancers enthusiastically open up to the filmmakers about the highlights and lows of their relationship and their professional career; however the film’s tendency to unequally sway towards Maria’s side of the story is very noticeable. It is Maria’s love story, her last tango, not Juan’s. We feel deep compassion for her loneliness padded with unfulfilled dreams of stable family life, perhaps unintentionally antagonise Juan in the process.
However, the film is a satisfying watch if you are willing to immerse yourself in the unconventionally uplifting love story with no happy ending.