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The Tango Lesson [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: PG
  • Run Time: 100 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 10, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Sally Potter (Orlando) returned to her 1970s dance roots in this autobiographical film, The Tango Lesson. Shot mostly in black and white, with brief dreamlike color sequences, the film, which was written, directed, and stars Potter and features a score partially composed by Potter, chronicles a screenwriter’s struggles with her writer’s block. As she tries to spur her imagination, Sally (Potter) travels to Paris where she sees Pablo (Pablo Verón) dance the tango. Fascinated, Sally begins taking lessons from Pablo and others, becomes obsessed with the dance, and develops a passionate relationship with both the tango and Pablo.

While The Tango Lesson fails to rise to the passionate levels that its namesake dance often evokes, Potter does a reasonable job weaving the tangled story together of a woman, her three loves, and the dance of life. Still, the film basically remains somewhat flat. Even the dreamlike interludes in color that represent Sally’s creative spurts about her often abandoned screenplay “Rage” about the fashion industry, serve only to confuse what is already an otherwise thin story. The Tango Lesson is saved only by Potter’s and Verón’s superb dance routines that encompass various disciplines from the traditional tango through tap, and the wonderful black and white cinematography of Robby Müller.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A mixture of black and white and color 35mm film sources is presented in a strong, film-like presentation by Artificial Eye here. Not surprisingly, the black and white comes across with a better sense of crispness and contrast than the brief color interludes, which tend to look just a little grainier and softer, but still show vibrant color reproduction. In all, this is a solid AVC/MPEG-4 encodement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The mostly English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is marvelously done. The use of the surrounds is excellent as they are filled with oodles of atmospheric sounds, from the hum of crowds in dance halls, to the downpour of rainstorms. The film score is natural and balanced with lots of ambience and natural dynamics.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The supplements on the disc here range from early concept screen tests that date all the way back to 1995, performances in Amsterdam, and a “music video.” Nothing is absolutely necessary, but they do hold some interest nevertheless.

The supplements:

  • Original Screen Tests (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 00:07:55)
  • Performance in Amsterdam (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 00:03:32)
  • Pablo at the Airport (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 00:05:03)
  • Yo-Yo Ma Music Video (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 00:03:27)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Romance, desire, and frustration play out in what is a beautifully filmed even if somewhat self-indulgent production from filmmaker and dancer Sally Potter. The Tango Lesson, like the dance that gives the film its name, is itself a duel, a rather quiet, at times even dull one, but it is beautiful to watch and listen to.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0085NGM8I[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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