One Last Dance - Part 2

Post date: Jun 12, 2014 3:51:53 AM

As mentioned in One Last Dance - Part 1- I'm looking forward to the release of One Last Dance - a short film directed by Luke Losey about lost love reconnecting an old man with his past, reigniting his passion for life in one last tango dance. 

Here Luke Losey gives some background on the music he has chosen for the film:

'We have been using a piece of music called ‘Por Una Cabeza’ that Paul Hartnoll (composer and Orbital) will use as a template in terms of its beat and very basic structure to work up his own Tango, meaning there will be rhythmic translation between rehearsal music and final film score, consistency for the actors is essential for them to be able make this performance as personal and truthful as they can.'

Phil and Paul Hartnoll a.k.a Orbital: Source:

I have to chuckle when hearing that this song will feature in yet another movie!  

Por una Cabeza - a tango song with music and lyrics written in 1935 by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera - has to be the most ubiquitous tango song in cinematic history!  Different versions of this song have been used to add romance, intrigue, elegance or, as in case of Schindler's List, play to the subtext of the protagonist's addiction to women. 

Al Pacino tangoing in Scent of a Woman

Here's a list of all the movies that have featured Por Una Cabeza1:

Delicatessen (1991)

Scent of a Woman (1992) 

Schindler's List (1993)

True Lies (1994)

Titanic (1996)


Bad Santa (Uncut Version, 2003)

All the King's Men (2006)

Easy Virtue (2008)

Planet 51 (2009)

Por Una Cabeza, particularly The Tango Project's version, is not only popular with movie makers but also my private students preparing their wedding dances. 

The reason for the popularity is undoubtedly due to the song's familiarity as a result of it's frequent appearance in the popular movies  Scent of a Woman, True Lies and Easy Virtue. It's therefore accessible in a cultural sense, to the dancers and their intended audience.

Another reason for the song's popularity for wedding dances is that it is relatively easy to dance. The rhythm is quite regular with a few dramatic moments to play with, and the song broadcasts its ending well in advance, making it easy to finish right on time.

Tango aficionados tend to frown upon the song - perceiving it as cliche and the song you dance to when you don't know 'The Real Tango'. I however take a more flexible approach to the song. Whilst I certainly would never choose the song for a display dance at a milonga, it could be a good choice for a wedding dance for the reasons mentioned above - providing, of course, that the dancers or guests aren't tango aficionados!

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy: 

Tango History and Music/Tango on the Silver Screen

1 Source: Wikipedia