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27 Feb 2020 19:00

Tango Salon – La Confiteria Ideal + Q&A with Jana Bokova and Leslie Megahey

The great city of Buenos Aires is still reeling from the economic crisis, but - paradoxically - out of the daily suffering of the porteños one of the strongest tango revivals ever has risen. On the one hand, Jana Bokova`s Tango Salon - La Confiteria Ideal can be seen as a Buenos Aires-set Buena Vista Social Club, full of great music and dance played out against the backdrop of the legendary Confiteria Ideal, one of the oldest of Buenos Aires` tango halls. On the other it is easy to see the tango as a defiant political act, a refusal to lie down and die in the face of the country`s continued poverty. Bokova celebrates the lives of the tangueros and tangueras - old milongueros, local dancers, tango teachers, foreigners and tango stars aged from 20 to 80 - all of whom share their tango stories of love, family, nationality etc., and shows how the political and the aesthetic are inextricably interwoven.

Argentina / United Kingdom 2004, 70´, English subtitles

Without the twilights and the nights of Buenos Aires, there would be no tango.


At the Confitería Ideal, there is an atmosphere of eternal romance, haunted by the old 20s orchestras, the melodies of the tango bands that echoed between its columns in the 40s and 50s and the dreams of poets who were reinventing the world at their tables... The socio-economic reality of modern-day Argentina is felt in each step, each of the dancers' figures. The Argentinians' bandonéon soul reminds us of this talent to survive, a talent that renders these milongueros indestructible in their nostalgia and timelessness. 
Jana Bokova

Followed by Q&A with director Jana Bokova and former BBC Head of Music and Arts programmes Leslie Megahey

Film director Jana Bokova has been living between London, Paris and Buenos Aires since 1968 making films in four countries and four languages – English, French, Spanish and Czech.   Czech-born Bokova left her home country in 1968 at the time of the Soviet invasion and continued her studies in Paris, where she gained a doctorate in Fine Arts, specialising in photography and the Surrealists. She then worked in the USA, contributing to Rolling Stone magazine as a photographer, and subsequently became a film student at the National Film School in England debuting as a film director in 1975 with the critically acclaimed Militia Battlefield. She made films regularly for the BBC arts series Omnibus and Arena, winning many international awards.  Amongst her impressive list of more than 20 documentaries are:  Just One More War (1977), Marika and Marevna (1977-78), Living Room (1978), I Look Like This (1979), Quinn Running (1980), Dallas: The Big Store (1981), Sunset People (1983), Havana (1989-90), Avignon (1999), Eric Clapton and Friends (2002), Tango Salon (2004) and Bye Bye Shanghai (2008). Bokova made the feature films Hôtel du Paradis (France, 1986), screened at the Cannes International Film Festival and Diary for a Tale (Diario para un cuento, Argentina 1998). The National Film Theatre in London ran a season of her early documentaries in (1979), which was followed by a full retrospective of her work at the Cinémathèque  Française, Paris (2002), National Film Archives, Prague (2012) and  Buenos Aires Museum de Cinema (2018). In 2012 Jana Bokova received a Czech award for cultural achievement.

Leslie Megahey, former BBC Head of Music and Arts programmes,  was one of the earliest editors of the Arena series and commissioned several of Jana Bokova's early television films for BBC1's arts series Omnibus.  He made dramas and docu-dramas for television, and directed opera and theatre, working in the West End and on Broadway.  He wrote and directed 'The Hour of the Pig',  a cinema film for BBC/ Miramax and has worked more recently as a writer and screenplay consultant on Hollywood feature films.  He has won the British Academy award, the Prix Italia, BANFF, New York Film and TV festival, and a lifetime achievement award at the Montreal FIFA festival.

Doors open at 18.30.
Unreserved seating. Uncollected tickets will be released 10 minutes before the advertised start time.

Part of In Focus: Jana Bokova

The cinema is accessible through the reception of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London, 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY.
Please note the entrance is on Bayswater Road.
Please note that the venue is not accesible to wheelchair users!




Czech Centre at the Czech Embassy Cinema, 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, London, W8 4QY


27 Feb 2020 19:00


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