A mixed-up affair melding Europudding and LatAm flavors without finding the right ingredient to make it satisfy.

A spurned chantoosie from Argentina goes off the deep end before finding peace baking croissants in a French seaside town in “The Tango Singer,” a mixed-up affair melding Europudding and Latin American flavors without finding the right ingredient to make it satisfy. Though Diego Martinez Vignatti shows considerable talent as d.p., his construction as helmer falters and his banal script lacks subtext or irony. He compensates somewhat with great tango songs, but the field is too crowded with better product to expect anything but minimal international sales.

When Helena Ferri (Eugenia Ramirez Miori) is dumped by her b.f., she turns hysterical, obsessively phoning him and cutting herself with glass. Even her burgeoning career as a tango singer can’t keep her mind off him, so she splits for France and the unquestioning warmth of brother Andy (Andres Ramirez). It’s abundantly clear she’s living her song lyrics, but this sort of desperate behavior can’t boost auds’ sympathy. Sudden temporal shifts are confusing, furthering the sense that Vignatti (“Tides”) had lots of ideas but not the wherewithal to fit them together. Visuals, however, are first-rate, especially the depiction of landscape.

The Tango Singer

Belgium-Argentina-France-Netherlands

Production

A Tarantula (Belgium) presentation of a Tarantula (Belgium)/Trivial Media (Argentina)/Mobilis Prod. (France)/De Productie (Netherlands)/Minds Meet, RTBF (Belgium) production. (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Produced by Joseph Rouschop. Co-producers, Pablo Ratto, Delphine Corniaut, Tomas Leyers, Renz Goossens, Annemiek Van Gorp, Arlette Zylberberg. Directed by Diego Martinez Vignatti. Screenplay, Vignatti, in collaboration with Luc Jabon.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Vignatti; editor, Marie-Helene Mora; production designer, Patrick Colpart; costume designer, Tim Van Steenbergen. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 14, 2009. Spanish, French dialogue. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Eugenia Ramirez Miori, Bruno Todeschini, Oscar Ferrari, Andres Ramirez, Pieter Embrechts, Juan Otero, Dora Baret, Marc Patrick Descamps.

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