M FILM – For the love of tango

Our Last Tango tells the volatile history of Maria Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes, tango’s most famous couple

Tango was born in the brothels of Buenos Aires a century ago, and its elegantly slinky sexiness expresses the full range of erotic passion. Those turbulent and sometimes dark emotions suffuse the fascinating documentary Our Last Tango, which tells the volatile history of Maria Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes, tango’s most famous couple. Their 50-year dance career saw them falling in and out of love, getting married and divorced, and, years later, finally breaking apart into unforgiving silence. The arc of that remarkable story is explored via contemporary interviews, thrilling archival footage, and handsomely choreographed scenes where three pairs of young dancers perform recreated highlights from the lives of Maria and Juan.

The two were just teenagers when they first met in the 1940s at one of Buenos Aires’ many milongas, those often shabby halls where tango aficionados went for social dancing. Their union was electric, and they soon became a glamorous couple.

“I knew I had met my Stradivarius,” the still-dapper Juan says of Maria. For her part, Maria surrendered utterly to the smoldering machismo of the driven and ambitious Juan, who wanted to take tango out of the halls and put it on stage. She followed him to New York in the 1950s where his irresistibly flashy “show tango” conquered Broadway and gradually achieved global fame for both the dance and the music that drives it. But those on-stage triumphs ultimately came at a terrible cost.

Now in her early 80s, henna-haired Maria is lively, proud, mischievous, and charismatic. She recalls her childhood poverty, and how “dancing was the joy of the poor” (as a girl she danced at home with a broom for a partner when tango music spilled from the radio). Her candour extends to discussing Juan’s often-caddish behaviour as he found himself surrounded by flocks of half-naked chorus girls. Eventually he renounced their Las Vegas marriage and hooked up with a younger woman and started a family.

“No tear shed by a woman for a man is worth it,” Maria declares fiercely, even as her claim to feel no jealousy rings hollow. In the latter years of their career she continued to perform with Juan, willing to accept personal humiliation because her need to dance tango at the highest level was transcendent.

“I danced with hate on stage,” she admits, a hostage to all of the many emotions inspired by the dance that ruled her life.

Our Last Tango ΗΗΗ 1/2

Stars Maria Nieves, Juan Carlos Copes

Directed by German Kral

(Running from May 8-10 at UVic’s Cinecenta)

COMING SOON:

Captain America: Civil War

The Avengers split into rival camps, and spend most of their time and energy hating on each other instead of the bad guys. With Robert Downey, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson.

Money Monster

Ex-Victorian Alan DiFiore wrote the script for this thriller about an investment guru with a TV show who gets held hostage on-air by a crazy man who blames him for all his financial woes. Starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts and directed by Jody Foster.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

In this sequel to the raunchy comedy about new parents (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) locked in mortal combat with a party-hearty fraternity house across the street, our parental duo now tangle with a gaggle of gals eager to out-crazy the boys.

The Darkness

Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell return from what seemed to be a dream vacation, only to end up terrorized by malevolent supernatural forces that follow them home.

Nice Guys

A down-on-his-luck private eye (Ryan Gosling) teams up with a brutal enforcer (Russell Crowe) to track down a missing girl in 1970s L.A., in an edgy crime comedy (that might just be a classic guilty pleasure).

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Gettin’ Higher Choir will be performing alongside Wavelengths Community Choir and special guests during an online concert Jan. 30. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria choirs team up for online concert fundraiser

Valdy among performers for free concert

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Melissa Martin from the Rollin Art Centre displays one of the late Robert Aller’s portraits that is part of the art gallery’s permanent collection. Some pieces from the Rollin’s collection will be exhibited when the gallery re-opens in February 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rollin Art Centre puts permanent collection on display

Works from Robert Aller, Arthur Lismer, Norval Morrisseau to be featured

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Most Read