Oliver Kolker's experience of tango in the United States (2005) provided the stimulus for the film Fermín. As a dancer of tango and actor, raised in Buenos Aires, Kolker was puzzled that at the time, North Americans loved the dance, but didn't appear to like the rich, traditional music of tango. Because of their limited exposure to the music of the Golden Age, he speculated that it hadn't reached their hearts and souls.
Such was the beginning of a chain of events which led to the genesis of this captivating film - his remarkable script and directorial debut, where the central character, deeply troubled by his past, expresses himself only in lyrics of tango. Here's a revealing chat with Kolker, for those who understand Spanish.
The movie Fermín was released last year, and we were very fortunate to see it when it screened in Buenos Aires. It had lost none of its impact when we saw it for a second time (with sub-titles, this time), as part of the wonderful Tango in the Spring event in Canberra. Although deeply moving the first time, seeing it with sub-titles revealed so much more of its depth.
Surprisingly, getting hold of the DVD while in Buenos Aires this year proved to be difficult. None of the normal retailers had it in stock, and some had not even heard of it! However, an internet search revealed that the DVD can be purchased online.
Calling the company, who should reply? None other than Oliver Kolker himself (Fermín's writer and co-director, as well as the actor who played a key role at the beginning)! Later, when the door at the company's address was opened to us, we appeared to be faced with the young Ciempies (the character played by Kolker in the movie - so called, because of his fast footwork on the dance-floor).
If you haven't yet had a chance to view this gem of a movie, or would like to see it again, here's a chance to get your own copy with sub-titles in English, French Russian and Turkish.
When visiting Buenos Aires, don't miss the atmospheric Bar Los Laureles which featured in the movie. Here's a photograph taken while we were enjoying live music, dinner and later, dancing, at Los Laureles.