The language of the Argentine Tango comes vividly to life in Cabeceo, an eight-minute short film that captures both the seductiveness of the tango and the unspoken storytelling that often occurs between those who partake in the tango.
Jennifer Berry is Sally, a young woman who explores the sensual and dangerous possibilities presented by a potential new lover, Jack (Claudio Predieri), as the two encounter one another and this unspoken invitation to explore becomes a sizzling, exciting fantasy that easily makes one understand why once experienced it is difficult to turn away from the Argentine tango. In essence, Cabeceo is both an engaging dance fantasy and an intimate, rhythmically unfolding story where no words are needed as it is clear these bodies are communicating all there is to say.
Berry, who happens to have been writer/director Brian James Crewe's dance instructor as he embarked on what he initially thought would be lessons in ballroom, offers up a dance performance that is precise, mesmerizing, passionate, and also quite vulnerable. As you watch her, you begin to realize that her entire being is dancing.
As Jack, Claudio Predieri at first appears to be headed toward that familiar dance caricature but quickly becomes so much more and travels quite the narrative arc over the course of the film's eight minutes. He is hypnotic to watch and it's absolutely compelling to watch the chemistry between Sally and Jack unfold as their story goes from initial attraction to resolution.
There's no doubt that Cabeceo is intended for the big screen where the music and imagery can come more powerfully to life. The film has already picked up a Maverick Movie Award for "Special Achievement of Filming Techniques of a Dance Film" and also picked up the Best Cinematography, Experimental prize at the Dance & Music Film Festival. Indeed, George Feucht's lensing is practically miraculous here. Original music by Darren Fung also brings this remarkable visual storytelling to life.
Cabeceo continues on the indie fest circuit and there's little doubt it will have a lengthy, award-winning run as this is a definite stand-out film and a definite change of pace from what we usually see from Crewe. There's also a bit of an obvious homage going on here for those paying attention, a lovely and unique touch by a filmmaker whose work I've followed for years without ever being disappointed.
With a film centered around dance, top-notch production quality is essential and Crewe's team absolutely delivers including Michaele Satterlund's production design, Alina Ivette's costume design, and sound work by D.J. Lynch.
Cabeceo is absolutely a film to catch on a big screen if you get a chance. You won't be disappointed.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic