Valentina's Tango

Dir: Rogelio Lobato
Star: Guillermina Quiroga, George Perez, Allen Walls, Dianna Miranda

I must confess, this is not a film that would have leaped out at us. Indeed, we didn't even ask for a review copy, but MTI still sent us one. I'm glad they did: this isn't quite what I expected from the title, being a good deal more surreal. Valentina (Quiroga, looking curiously like Penelope Cruz) runs a dance-club in Hollywood, with her husband Eduardo and two sons: Eddie (Perez) is training to be a priest, Armando (Walls) teeters on the edge of a life of crime. Torn between those two is Tina (Miranda), while Eduardo's partner also loves Valentina, albeit from afar. But when a local gangster decides he wants to muscle in on the club, violence and passion become more than just an excuse for a good dance number.

Perhaps fortunately, it's a good deal stranger than it seems, though the tango scenes at the film's heart are beautiful, even to an observer like myself, who has two left feet [Quiroga is a dancer first, and actress second]. If I hadn't already married one, the movie would probably put me off Hispanic women for life, as going by this film, they all have what might charitably be described as "quirks". Valentina, for example, constantly has little orgasms while tangoing: and she is probably the most well-adjusted female present. Not that the men come over much better, save poor Eddie, who is so good as to be almost saintly. It's still fun watching them interact, and Lobato drifts towards territory that's much more Lynchesque than you'd imagine, with the final reel unspooling in a weird, psychosexual denouement. If arguably it's a bit of a mess, it's one you'll like;y remember.

[The film was released in the US on May 27th by MTI Home Video, through Artist View Entertainment. For more information, see the MTI website.]

[June 2008]

Dance Dance but no Revolution
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