ESTERNO TANGO (Tango in the City) 1986 - 25 minutes - 16 mm

Thirteen verses of a tango song heard during a visit to Buenos Aires. Fantastical notes on a city populated by ghosts. Borges, Evita, a bureaucrat, a general and a street-seller run into each other in cafes, on buses. Fragments of memories, like Eva's songs as she wanders as an eighteen-year-old around this mythical and squalid city, going as far as its symbolic boundary: an uncompleted motorway, suspended in mid-air. Seventeen actors play the characters. For all of them this is a screen test, because the film is also an audition for a future one.

Directed by: Marco Bechis, photography: Marcelo Iacarino, edited by: Elisa Bonora, produced by: M. Bechis - Studio Pontaccio

"I'd been sent to Patagonia by the Pontaccio production company in Milan, run by my friend Achille Mauri.
Achille commissioned me to film whales as they swim past the Valdes Peninsula once a year. There I met an underwater cameraman who later turned out to be a scoundrel. The whale shots didn't happen, the whales were no longer there but in the open sea. With the production money still in my pocket, I decided to use it in a different way. Hyperinflation was rife in Argentina in 1986, and that puny sum in my pocket was worth a lot there. In Buenos Aires I quickly assembled a mini crew and jotted down my impressions of what I had seen in the streets, a preliminary sketch for a film. Using the words of a tango song, I took inspiration from some short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, whom I had met the previous year while working on a film project that eventually got shelved.
The film was shot in 16 mm with a full film crew, all professionals, for an extremely low budget in ltalian currency.
On my return to Italy, Achille Mauri gave me a rather puzzled welcome when he saw me arrive with none of the whale material he had commissioned; but when he watched the edited ESTERNO TANGO he said: "And now you have to make a movie".
So he encouraged me to write ALAMBRADO, my first feature film" (Marco Bechis).