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Preview of Assassination Tango

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 25, 2003

About the Author:

Preview of Assassination Tango

(www.mgm.com/ua/assassinationtango/synopsis.html)

A United Artists Production
At MGM Studios
1350 Avenue of the Americas
at 55th Street, Ground Floor
NY, NY 10019

Publicity by stevenmbeeman@falcoink.com

Writer, Director, Producer, Star (John J.): Robert Duvall

Other Lead Cast:

Ruben Blades as Miguel
Kathy Baker as Maggie
Luciana Pedraza as Manuela
Cameo Appearance by Pablo Veron

Other Filmmakers:

Rob Carliner, Producer
Francis Ford Coppola, Executive Producer
Linda Reisman, Executive Producer
Steven Brown, Co-Producer
Raul Outeda, Co-Producer
Felix Monti, Director of Photography
Stefania Cella, Production Designer
Stephen Mack, Editor
Luis Bacalov, Music

CD: Assassination Tango, Soundtrack, RCA Victor, www.rcavictor.com, Album produced by Robert Duvall, Charlie Feldman, and Larry Hamby. Executive in charge of music for MGM: Anita Camarata.

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 25, 2003

What could be more exciting than to be in the midst of a private Tango lesson with my coach, Carlos De Chey (carlosnytango@hotmail.com), and for him to receive an invitation for two for a private screening of the new Robert Duvall film, Assassination Tango, previewing the next afternoon at MGM Studios, an adorable screening venue, with sculptures and an American Flag in the lobby, comfortable seating, and impeccable blue and gold décor. To make this event even more special was the fact that Carlos and I had several Tango friends and acquaintances, in attendance at this event (See Candid Photos below). In addition, I have met Robert Duvall and his lovely partner, Luciana Pedraza, at a couple of Tango Milongas in the NY Tango scene.

Assassination Tango is an excellent film in all respects. At first, I was struck by the rich, dark colors, the warm vibrant sounds of some of my favorite Tangos (heard in the CD Soundtrack above), and the very clever lighting effects and angular camera techniques. I was soon drawn into the plot, one of a hired hit man in a foreign country, a hit man with a heart. Duvall, as lead lover, hit man, proxy father, and potential paramour, was always the panther (the animal metaphor seen in surrealistic fashion in the film). Duvall was sexy, suave, and sensational in the role he created to showcase his new interest in Argentine Tango, which developed through his real-life relationship with Luciana Pedraza.

Ruben Blades, as a not so reliable co-conspirator, was magnetic and mesmerizing. Pedraza, in her film debut, had a taut sensual pull, that drew Duvall's character, and obviously Duvall, himself, into her dark and unleashing spiritual world of Tango. As a parent (Pedraza's character) and proxy parent (Duvall's character), these two try mutual seduction, through a revealing discussion that includes their love and obsession with their young daughters, seated in a lovely café. Kathy Baker as Maggie was endearing, patient, and unassuming. As a mother and lover, she exuded radiance and comfort. All characters were well cast.

As the hit man zeroes in on his target, with the usual last minute hitches and changes of venues and schedules, the suspense and the music build. As we wait to see if the desirous and potential lovers ever privately meet, we are also led through window ledges and high wire tactics. I usually dislike films with violence, as being disturbing and overwrought. However, since the hit man's target was painted as a malevolent military character, I rooted for his demise. I also rooted for the new lovers but will not reveal the ending.

The cameo in the final scene, under the credits, danced by one of my former Tango coaches, Pablo Veron (and partner), who also coached Luciana Pedraza, was superb, with Veron's signature twirls and gonchos, and enormous and rapid leg movements. The interior Tango scenes, in the Milongas of Buenos Aires, were earthy and humorous, evocative and stylized, with cameos by well-known Tango performers, including Milena Plebs (See Photo Essay and Articles).

I highly recommend Assassination Tango to all Argentine Tangueros for the well known and new Tango music. Kudos to Luis Bacalov and his Orchestra. I also highly recommend this film to the general public for another fine performance by a longtime favorite, Robert Duvall, and for a look into his Directorial and creative writing skills, not to mention his new dancing skills with his lovely discovery, Luciana Pedraza. Kudos to Robert Duvall. Assassination Tango will be seen in local theaters shortly. Check film listings. I intend to see this film again, this time for the music and visual texture.


Alicia Cruzado, Peter McNaughton, and Tango friends
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Alicia, Ann, Roberta, Alisa, Monica, and Annie
Photo courtesy of Peter McNaughton







ROBERT DUVALL wrote, directed, produced, and stars as John J. in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



Drawn into the sensual world of the tango while on assignment in Argentina, hit man John J. (ROBERT DUVALL) dances with Manuela (LUCIANA PEDRAZA) in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



John J. (ROBERT DUVALL) discusses his assignment with Miguel (RUBEN BLADES) in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



LUCIANA PEDRAZA stars as Manuela in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



John J. (ROBERT DUVALL) has dinner with Manuela (LUCIANA PEDRAZA) in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



John J. (ROBERT DUVALL) and Maggie (KATHY BAKER) watch Maggie's daughter take riding lessons in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



ROBERT DUVALL wrote, directed, produced, and stars as John J. in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



Drawn into the sensual world of the tango while on assignment in Argentina, hit man John J. (ROBERT DUVALL) dances with Manuela (LUCIANA PEDRAZA) in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



John J. (ROBERT DUVALL) asks Manuela (LUCIANA PEDRAZA) for tango lessons in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



The sensuous world of the tango is explored in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



LUCIANA PEDRAZA stars as Manuela in United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola



Writer/Director ROBERT DUVALL talks to first assistant director FERNANDO ALTSCHUL on the set of United Artists' drama ASSASSINATION TANGO.
Photo courtesy of Juan Angel Urruzola





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