Naked Tango (1990) Poster


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Unforgettable Film
loza-127 May 2005
I can see why many people dislike this film. Some of the scenes in it are more suggestions of reality than reality itself. I personally liked it. The settings were superb. The dancing wonderful. Cholo, melting the girl's heart just by fancy footwork is amazing.

Argentinian Tango musicians will tell you that they have witnessed many couples copulating while they dance the tango, hence the blindfolded trio makes this suggestion. (Since writing that I have been informed that tango musicians WERE sometimes blindfolded in real life.)

The costumes and especially the lighting are terrific.

The relationship between the two central characters is complex: less talk more S & M.
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A coupling of violence and death, agony and ecstasy, and the Tango!
Nitzer-321 April 1999
Naked Tango is brilliantly casted and directed. Chollo, the unlikely romantic, is both sensuous and cruel. Stephanie, after her incredible transformation into Alba, is stunningly beautiful and dangerous in her own right. The tension between the two of them will keep you watching until the bitter-sweet ending. Violence, pleasure, death, ecstasy: all surround the mysterious world of Chollo and his charismatic and seductive Tango. Set in a corrupt 1920s Argentina Chollo, Stephanie (Alba), and the unwitting match-maker Zico, discover that life is not what it seems and people are not always who they say they are. The stage design is exemplary; the costume design is perfect; the acting is incredible. This movie is a must see for those drawn to the darker side of love and lust. Naked Tango is one of the best movies of all time.
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The essence of tango.
sTiNkFiSt27 October 2003
This movie does not have any special or original plot, acting is just average. There's some nice camera work and colored-lights usage, but that would be it. But the thing is, that this movie captures all that tango is. The movie is raw, erotic, sometimes vulgar. It is the only movie (as far as I've seen) that captures the essence of tango so very good. The knife fights are choreographed with tango steps, and are made sensual and erotic just as it is described in original tango songs. Cholo is a perfect compadrito, hoodlum from Buenos Aires, pimp, killer. Dance choreographies are nothing special, so if you're into that, I would rather recommend Saura's "Tango" or Potter's "Tango Lesson". But I would recommend this movie to fans of tango because it truly captures the atmosphere of Buenos Aires suburbia, how it was, when tango was danced by it's makers, whores and killers. I would give it 8/10 for atmosphere, but 5/10 for the rest. In the end, it's worth a look.

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wildly creative, passionate, unforgettable
steve_d_online9 October 2005
Amazing. What struck me right from the start was the intense use of rich colour and brooding shade. The camera seems to leer through a fish-like, distorted lens at times. The story itself is very dynamic, with frequent turns and revolutions in the plot. The creators have used an ingenious blend of futuristic, and what seems to me to be late nineteenth/early twentieth century set and costume, so we are left wondering exactly when and where this story is set. By turns bloody, beautiful, outrageous, mysterious, dark and passionate, this is a very stirring film. The tension and attraction between the protagonists is so palpable it seems to tear up the screen! The final showdown in the abattoir is a cinematic crescendo, putting it politely. I rate this film most highly because it is a classic example of what a director can do when they really let their imagination run wild.
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I think this film is the masterpiece. Don't you think so ?
rosefilm14 September 2002
Almost 10 years ago, it happened one night that I got into the theater ( a kind of B-movie theater of double feature ) in the back street of Seoul in Korea. I didn't even know the title of this film when I bought the ticket. Now I am studying film in Art School in San Francisco and still remember the powerful imagery and storytelling of the film. This film shaked my fundamental concept of the film itself and it still gives me the energetic interaction of the very unique aesthetics and visual ecstacy. I could not forget the night of watching this film still now. I think Hector Babenco should adore this film.
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My favourite art-house wannabe
grandmastersik11 June 2007
Upon witnessing a suicide on board a trans-Atlantic vessel, a woman assumes the identity of the deceased to escape for a new life.

It turns out that the woman who's life she is replacing in a Polish mail order bride for a rich man in Argentina, who just so happens to run a brothel for the unequal male-female ratio population.

Ah-ha, not quite the lucky break she was hoping for then.

Two rival gangs operate in the city: the Argentines and Jews, and a powerful figure in the Jewish gangland is scheduled to be her first official customer.

I won't spoil it by telling what happens from here on out, but the woman's obsession with the tango-swirling hit-man of the Argentinian gang, Cholo, complicates things, as he battles with himself to keep his emotional distance from a woman he finds truly fascinating...

Superb acting, lavish sets, a simple yet powerful script and all that tango just makes this one quite unforgettable.

I'd strongly suggest anyone looking for something new to hunt down a copy and give this one a go.
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Tragic love story is as nonsensical as they get but Vincent's hot, so what of it?
Caesaria5 May 2002
Vincent D'Onofrio is beyond gorgeous in this pretentious little ditty. It's a gorgeous film, very "foreign" and decadent and moody, but what of sense? It's silly - I get it, the tango is sensuous. Yeah, I got that. Wow, she's naked and he's cruel and hot. Wow, he's good in bed and it took a lot to get him to do it. He's not a whore, but she was forced to be! Tell me, isn't this film reminiscent of a "Kids in the Hall" episode with Francessca Foray (a Scott Thompson character, "International B - Movie Star") and everyone was speaking in movie metaphors? Yeah, it is. It's overwrought but I enjoyed this movie. Dumb yes, but it was fun and glorious to look at, from the bondage - bed scenes to Vincent all lean and dressed to the nines. Good Lord that man 's a typhoon of hottness (how's that phrase for you?)
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Too much 'naked', not enough 'tango'...
VDOVault22 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Among other things, 'Naked Tango' suffers from a poor central story idea. Stephanie (Mathilda May) a young woman in an apparently loveless marriage of convenience to a much older judge (Fernando Rey) finds herself on a honeymoon cruise and meets a young woman named Alba who commits suicide by diving overboard. Seeing a way free from the boring bonds of wedlock, Stephanie assumes Alba's identity and is ultimately duped into involuntary servitude in an Argentinian tango parlor/whorehouse. While in Argentina, Stephanie meets and is captivated by Cholo (Vincent D'Onofrio who is so covered in cheesy eye make-up a la Duran Duran, he looks more clownish than commanding) a master of tango and apparently the master in what becomes a laughably implausible S&M tinged 'relationship' between Stephanie/Alba and Cholo. There's plenty of nudity and violence and sex and precious little of the tango that supposedly inspired this film.

The film is visually striking, sophisticated in its use of color and Milena Canonero's costumes and has some marvelously atmospheric and moody sets. But like D'Onofrio's later films 'The Cell' and 'Chelsea Walls', the 'pretty picture' factor and the artsy lensing are not enough to sustain a whole 92 minutes (which is what the longest version of this film available for home viewing, on a Japanese laser disc and not on either the Canadian or European VHS tapes) of total viewer involvement. This film runs like a super-long music video, only without enough music or dancing to make it an *engaging* super-long music video.

If all you care about is seeing May's character naked or D'Onofrio's character having rough sex with May, you won't be disappointed. But fans of D'Onofrio's *acting* ability or the *tango* are going to feel shortchanged because there is so little of both for them to experience (although what little is there is interesting). It's too bad 'Naked Tango' is such a tease, because it could have been as fascinating and mysteriously erotic as Rudolph Valentino in the tiny clip of 'The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse' that appears early in 'Naked Tango'...the sex and violence and nudity are boring sidetracks from the dancing and the unexplored sides of Cholo's shady but intriguing Buenos Aires of the 1920s, where the really magnetically interesting story lies as submerged and abandoned as the real Alba's body.

This film is only recommended for its eye candy, not it's ability to substantially feed your yearnings for a good and imaginative story.
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the dark side of the tango
ad_w000007 July 2002
To me, Naked Tango is the dance portrayed as a film. The intensity, brutality, cold and yet seductive passion between the `dancers' and the camera left me drawn to the pain and pleasure. I saw the blood as the rose, the actors as the dancers and the viewers as spectators (where we are part of the film). Defiantly a film that gets tattooed on the brain!
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TANGO: cruel and charming
ELF-818 May 2000
First of all I have to say, that NAKED TANGO made me fall in love with tango 9 years ago...Now I've seen it once again, the 6th time! I must say that dance scenes are stunningly beautiful, enchanting!

I was complaining about too few good tango scenes, but I wasn't correct because in this movie there are plenty of them. However they are not seen clear, I mean, you can not see all body of the dancers in motion, to fix the steps. But it's not important now. Because I've understood why. Dancers are covered by twilight, shadow, by secret. The main thing there is the soul, not steps. It's the style of the movie.

The one thing I don't love, it's murdering and violence. Yes, I know, the world is cruel, the tango is cruel. It's true. But is it really the only end to finish our passionate creations, seekings, our love in the death?

Although I myself have been dancing Argentine tango just a year, but I found in this various emotions, such as tenderness, longing, grief, sadness, melancholy, even weakness.

In this movie there is one tango scene, at the end, there Cholo and Alba are dancing in her house. Slow, very slow and smooth, with music full of tenseness, presentation of disaster and tenderness at the same time. I love this.
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Last tango in Buenos Aires
tomsview12 May 2015
"Naked Tango" makes for a fairly surreal experience. It has the exaggerated gestures and emotions of a silent film or grand opera. Despite gaps in logic you could perform a tango corrida through, the pace and energy of the film doesn't give you time to dwell on them.

On a ship heading to Argentina during the 1920's, Stephanie (Mathilda May), a woman bored by her marriage to the wealthy, much older Judge Torres (Fernando Ray), takes the identity of a young woman she sees jump overboard.

Stephanie more than spices up her life when as Alba, a young Jewish girl from Poland, she finds herself in an arranged marriage to Zico Borenstein (Esai Morales), a member of the Zvi Migdal. This is an organisation of pimps on the grand scale, which tricks women into prostitution. After attracting the attention of Choro, an Argentinean gangster played by Vincent D'Onofrio, events head off in unexpected directions, all swept along by the music and the mystique of the tango.

The stars make this film, and the stunning Mathilda May makes believable all the obsessive attention she receives from the males in the movie. I remember her spectacularly uninhibited performance in the otherwise forgettable "Lifeforce". Here she dances the tango of the film's title to the music of a blindfolded orchestra without any discernible loss of poise.

Vincent D'Onofrio gives an eye-popping performance, but it fits seamlessly with the theatricality of the whole thing. I wouldn't be the first person to notice his resemblance to Orson Welles (he's actually played him in a couple of movies) but here, half hidden in the shadows with the brim of his hat pulled down, he is uncannily like Harry Lime in "The Third Man".

Esai Morales and Fernando Ray wisely underplay, leaving the fireworks to May and D'Onofrio. Fernando Ray is perfect as Stephanie's real husband who realises too late that wealth, position and comfort are not enough to keep his beautiful wife away from the machismo of the dangerous Choro.

This is the second film I can recall that featured the Zvi Migdal. It was the driving force behind the plot of Jonathan Demme's underrated Hitchcock homage, "The Last Embrace", but in that film it is only alluded to, here it is front and centre.

"Naked Tango" has great locations, sumptuous sets, an arresting story, and a couple of stars that burn up the screen. When all is said and done, the title of the film is a good warning as to whether or not you are likely to enjoy this film - it's nothing less than an invitation to a dance on the wild side.
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A pleasant way to get your D'Onofrio fix
pwinkeljohn2 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As a latecomer to the Vincent D'Onofrio fan club, I have just acquired a hard to find copy of Naked Tango. After seeing stills from the movie I was prepared to see a prettified, svelte D'Onofrio-but still, to any fan, that would have to be the top recommendation. The story line should have been a nail-biter (it wasn't). It should have been erotic (even with the female nudity, S&M imagery, and attractive cast it wasn't) There were some unintentionally humorous scenes and the violence seemed cartoonish and surprisingly not that gory(a good thing)! The dance scenes were brief and incomplete. All complaining aside, the movie makes good eye candy. The costumes were lovely, the lighting and sets very moody and film noir, and the cast performed well, though the men stayed over-dressed even in the love scenes.
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Excellent Tango Film Released in French Canada Years Ago On VHS
bqacinema30 January 2007
This is one of the best Tango films made for non-Tango experts..........Great performance by Mathilda May.......It was made in two versions......the English version is a little bit longer but both are worth watching.......The ending is slightly different in the French version.......The music is great all the way through......Vincent is much younger and better in this than in the TV shows.......We were able to find this in the English and French versions......During the 1990's we found this at Flea Markets in Quebec but most of those old tapes were generally not very good....Video store rejects.......We only kept the best ones...........A good film for viewing if you can find good quality versions....A lot of 3rd generation re-sellers on this one..........Best Quality Available Cinema
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qualifies as one of the top ten worst movies of all time
manxman-120 August 2002
Hysterically bad movie that camps it up like nothing you've ever seen before. Starts out with a good idea that quickly goes down the toilet. A young wife, traveling with her much older husband on a ship to Argentina in the 1920's, exchanges identities with a suicide victim only to discover that the other woman was a mail-order bride destined to marry a handsome young Argentinian - who made a habit of marrying young European women in order to place them in his mother's brothel. The wife falls in love/hate with the resident brothel thug and tango dancer with whom she dances in the nude. After repeated escape attempts, the wife contacts her older husband who sends hired assassins to the brothel for a bloody showdown. Hysterical scenes with a blindfolded tango orchestra and a blood-red monster of a bordello as backdrop. The kind of movie to throw popcorn at. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful! Strange to relate, it just might have worked had it been in any other language except English.
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A pretentious failure
dmuel26 May 2002
In spite of a strong cast, including the very talented Fernando Rey, and sumptuous settings, this movie is simply a pretentious failure. The story revolves around the sado-masochistic relation between a hoodlum and a hapless woman, the latter abducted into forced prostitution in Argentina. There is surprisingly little eroticism in this movie, even with the presence of the ever lovely, and ever nude, Ms. May. The ill-fated couple tango their way to romance, but the utter lack of chemistry between D'Onofrio and May, compunded by a poorly scripted story line, strains the viewer's credulity. I admire Mr. Schraders' work in other films, but this one was definitely off-the-mark. The video is hard to find but it is most assuredly not a lost masterpiece.
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Some style but overall boring
cengelm23 October 2001
I bought this one on used VHS video and it was called erotic thriller. After seeing it I was disappointed. There was some style but not much more. The story is muddled and never really catched my interest. I didn't find it to be very erotic, either. D'Onofrio was unconvincing. So I guess it's only for fans. Fans of Tango ?

3 / 10.
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Does anyone know why...
mizvtheb21 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
...why there is no choreographer's credit on the credits listing on this website for Carlos Rivarola? It is in the main credits of the movie. Also does anyone know why this film never went into wide release, and why it didn't get a wide video release? Has anyone seen it on a big screen in a theater? This video is the holy grail for people who collect tango movies. Every cliché about the Argentine tango is realized. Every un-PC stereotype is portrayed. Nothing is historically accurate. The actual tango music used on the soundtrack dates from the 1940's, not the 1920's. Still it is one of the great valentines to the Argentine tango, beloved by many a tanguero. Does anyone have any trivia about the film: such as does Vincent D'Onofrio do his own dancing? Does anyone have posters or film stills to share or sell (or has anyone seen any in existence)? And has anyone ever heard of the fabulous set-design pieces (like the huge legs in the bordello) coming up for sale anywhere?
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ELF-812 May 1999
In despite of anything, I'm thankful for this film. Because of tango. I've been watching this film for 4 times during 6 years. I am admired with this fatal and sexual choreography. These scenes, there Cholo and Alba are dancing in the pool of blood...with knifes in the neck ... It's so dramatic! And this mad about tango man - I'd like to meet the one like him. Every women would, I'm sure. I like the color of film. Moonlight yellow and scarlet red sneaking away from the shadows. It emphasizes the soul of tango. But I can't forgive Alba,- she don't love tango ! I can't understand her, she is so silly. Why she is risking ? Very spoilt girl. So, about MORE TANGO PLEASE : too much unnecessary violence, too few good tango scenes. Why don't you let as to look into the legs of dancers, director ? Too little real argentinian tango - the fight of legs ! I've seen a Sally Potter "Tango lesson" recently, so please, understand me. If you love tango, like I do, don't miss this film.
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simply wonderful (I checked the spoiler box just in case)
kawaiidragonfoe82128 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I never really was a fan of the dance until I watched this movie. It was exciting (as well as frustrating) to watch Cholo & Alba's relationship blossom from intrigue, to possession, & finally into love.

The use of color,location & camera angles during the dance scenes make the viewer feel almost like a guilty peeping tom that is stealing a look uninvited (but don't fret, that feeling only makes all the more riviting to watch).

Naked Tango is one of those movies that you have to watch more then once to really get, I have watched it at least once a day for the two weeks sense I got it & every time I pop it in, it is like I' am experiencing it for the first time. This is a movie that is definitely worth buying, just for the re-watch value.
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