presenting The Tango Lesson a a Sony Pictures Classics release release
The Story  Sally Potter's Inspiration  Cast/Crew  The Tango  Stills/Clips  The Soundtrack

Cast and Crew
Carlos Conti: Production Design
Twenty years ago, Argentinian Carlos Conti left his home town of Cordoba with a diploma in astronomy and headed for Paris, where he has established an international reputation as one of the cinema's great production designers.

As a set decorator, Carlos collaborated with Hilton McConnico on Jean-Jacques Beineix' celebrated first film Diva, after which he became a production designer. Carlos has designed many of France's most famous films of recent years, acclaimed by critics and audiences the world over, such as Betty Blue (Beineix); Grosse Fatigue (Michael Blanc); Ma Saison Preferee (André Techiné) and Nelly Et Monsieur Arnaud (Claude Sautet).

Add to Carlos' experience in the best of contemporary French cinema his knowledge of filmmaking in Argentina, and it is clear that Carlos was uniquely qualified to design a film such as The Tango Lesson, shot in Buenos Aires and Paris. "To work on The Tango Lesson was a wonderful opportunity," says Carlos. "It gave me the chance to re-discover my roots: Argentina and the tango."

(The following are notes by Sally Potter)

Carlos' response to the script was informed by a deep understanding of the culture of the tango--and by an intimate knowledge of both cities seen in the film (Paris and Buenos Aires). He and I spent an intensive time together in pre-production driving around Paris at night talking, talking, talking, as we looked and looked, developing a common visual frame of reference. We both knew that our time together before the shoot was like gold dust and would form the basis of a mutual trust that would have to sustain lots of changes at the last minute in difficult circumstances later on.

He came to rehearsals and watched everything with his beady eye. We laughed a lot together and talked about what was important and what was not. We talked about the knife-edge of realism and non-realism in the story and in the film--and the desire to use real locations but transform them. The choice of location itself would have to speak to us--there would be no such thing as a neutral background. Every image tells a story. Certain themes had already been established in the script--water, for example, and repeated use of "points of light" and reflection. But Carlos took these ideas and ran with them--laughing and talking excitedly as he did so.

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