Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 28, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Tango Lesson

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Sally Potter, Pablo Ver n
director
Sally Potter

We gave it a B+

When she makes movies, British director Sally Potter (Orlando) is in charge. But when the woman dances, she’s got to follow. Describing the erotic tensions between leading and following, moving and standing still, working and loving is what Potter is after in this very personal, very womanly, very lovely film — a tenderly, vulnerably, daringly chutzpah-filled project in which Potter, who trained to be a professional dancer, stars as angular, reserved, middle-aged, tango-loving filmmaker Sally Potter. Blocked while working on her next script, Potter begins taking tango lessons from Pablo Veron, a real-life sexy Argentinean dancer living in Paris. And in the development of their mutable, charged, beautifully realized relationship (”You’re doing it alone; wait for me!” Veron chastises her during one frustrating rehearsal), the filmmaker expands the idea of lessons to encompass far more fundamental issues of dance and partnership than simple footwork. The Tango Lesson is about as far away from Al Pacino’s Scent of a Woman hotdogging as you can get; it really is about the scent of a woman, in all her fascinating peculiarity. B+

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