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By Phil Hall | September 12, 2006

Argentina gives us “Tango Fatal,” a mini-musical incorporating the Latin Grammy-winning music of Carlos Franzetti with the sensual choreography of tango master Carlos Copello.

The plot of this film is strictly B-Movie pulp: a struggling cabaret owner is in serious debt to a gangster. The dancing girls of the cabaret are in conflict with each other, and the arrival of a handsome stranger brings out the bitch in these hoofing honeys. Unlike the Hollywood musical, this Buenos Aires equivalent eschews the happy ending for the noir territory of grit and violence.

If “Tango Fatal” skimps on the soundtrack (only two songs – the rest of the score is instrumental) and relies too much on stereotypes (a pair of thugs, one dressed in garish clothing and the other hobbling on a crippled leg, are called “Italian” and “Lame”), it compensates with its extraordinary dancing. Granted, the serious foot movement doesn’t kick in until 20 minutes, but when it starts it becomes a dynamic _expression of powerful body movement and wickedly choreographed eroticism. The tango is perhaps the most sexual of all dances and the dance movements could easily qualify as soft-core if the dancers hadn’t kept their clothing on.

Running less than an hour, “Tango Fatal” doesn’t cover much ground but it offers a grand diversion that leaves the viewer hungry for more.

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