In Carlos Saura's TANGO, a well-known theater director, Mario (Miguel Angel Sol?) attempts to produce a tango extravaganza in Argentina. He wants to show the breadth and depth of tango--both the music and the dance--not just in isolated music and dance numbers, but with a story that shows the way the tango is woven into the very fabric of Argentinean life. Mario is beset with problems in his personal life and interference from political officials that prohibit him from making the film. His wife has just left him for another man. He falls in love with a beautiful young dancer, Elena (Mi? Maestro), but after very brief fling she dumps him. The Mayor wants him to put his mistress in the show and, along with the producers, wants him to cut a sequence that dramatizes the horrors of the time of the military dictatorship and the plight of the families of the "disappeared." In a voice-over Mario reveals the depth of his feelings about art and love while also expressing his severe self-doubt.
After a beautiful opening shot of the city of Buenos Aires, director of photography Vittorio Storaro, who had previously collaborated with Saura on FLAMENCO, infuses the large sound stage, where the film takes place, with brilliant pastel screens and sharp silhouettes. In TANGO Saura effectively blends the personal drama that goes into theater production with the beauty of the final dance sequences.