Soundtrack: Luis Borda
"El Ultimo Aplauso"
Cristina de los Ángeles, Inés Arce, Julio César Fernán, Abel Frías - vocals
Pablo Bernaba; Nicolás Fontana, Matilde Vitullo - bandoneon
José Santucho, Karina Martinelli, Mariela Martins, Federico Morgan - violin
Damián Pais - cello
Gerardo Martínez Argibay - piano
Lucas Frontini - double-bass
About the film:
El Último Aplauso tells the emotional story of a group of old forgotten tango singers from Buenos Aires, who for many years used to perform together in one of the city's most famous tango bars, the "Bar El Chino". After the owner of the bar mysteriously died in 2001, it was taken over by his widow and her new partner. Just a couple of weeks later, this incredible place lay in ruins.
El Último Aplauso follows the lives of these forgotten tango singers from 1999 until today. It shows their struggle to earn a living after the closure of the bar during the country's biggest-ever economic crisis and their desperate dream to sing just one more time in front of an audience. After the old singers meet the young tango musicians of the "Orquesta Típica Imperial" they are able to realize their dream: to give one last concert and to bask in the warm audience applause, maybe for the last time in their lives…
About the soundtrack:
The famous music producer and composer Luis Borda created a gorgeous soundtrack for the film El Último Aplauso together with the Orquesta Típica Imperial and the singers from "Bar El Chino". Recorded in several studio sessions, during the shooting and at a live concert with the Orquesta and the singers in Buenos Aires, the soundtrack (consisting of 18 songs) blends some of the most beautiful and well-known traditional tangos like "Soledad" and "Volver" with modern compositions by the famous Tango composers Astor Piazzolla and Eladia Blázquez, like "Verano Porteño" and "Mi Ciudad y Mi Gente".
"EL ÚLTIMO APLAUSO"The making of the film
by German Kral
"El Último Aplauso" began for me at the end of last century. In December 1999, while I was preparing a trip to Buenos Aires, the city where I was born and raised, the German film director Doris Dörrie, who was my professor at the Munich Film School, told me, after returning from a visit to my home country: "Germán, you have to go to a very special bar in Buenos Aires and make a film about it!" The bar, called "Bar El Chino", was in Pompeya, a typical neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, where I had never spent much time before.
From the very first moment when I came into "Bar El Chino", its ambience and its people fascinated me. The direct and unpretentious way of singing tango, its owner's charisma with his typical Buenos Aires' voice, the closeness between the audience and the singers, the pictures and photographs slapped casually on to the walls, without much thought to any aesthetic order. The "Bar El Chino" conquered my heart instantly. And, because what I like doing more than anything else in this world, is to make films, my first impulse was to start shooting. That last summer at the end of a century, I shot and shot, visiting the singers in their homes and at the bar, asking them about their lives and their love for singing and specially for tango.
One and half years later, in November 2001, I came back to Buenos Aires to continue shooting the film, but everything had changed. El Chino was ill and in hospital, his only son had died few months ago, and a strange athmosphere of sadness and crisis was floating not only over the bar, but also over the city and the whole country. Shortly after that, I left Buenos Aires with an ominous feeling and a few weeks later, back in Germany, I heard that El Chino had died.
I couldn't come back to Buenos Aires until November 2003. And when I did, everything had changed again completely. The new owners of the bar, Delfina, El Chino's widow, and her partner Omar, had taken control of the bar and from then on several of the best known singers had broken off relations with them and left the bar. The tragedy of the new situation was that some of these singers had sung in the bar for more than 26 years, and now had not only lost an important source of income, but also their only place to perform.
In 2006, thanks to the interest and collaboration from the production company Happinet Corporation, from Tokyo, the National Film Institute from Argentina (INCAA) and the German Film Funds: FFF Bayern and FFA, I could come back to Buenos Aires and finish shooting "El Último Aplauso". I think that my most intimate wish was to try to capture on film the life, the stories and voices of such special singers, before time and a lack of interest would cause them to vanish from memory, perhaps forever.
It was then that I discovered the young musicians from the "Orquesta Típica Imperial", who loved the project and were immdiately keen and enthusiastic to perform with El Chino's singers. And luckily I was able to interest the great Argentinean musician and composer, Luis Borda, to join the project as the music producer. So it was that Christina, Julio and Inés were given the chance to sing their most beloved tangos again in front of an appreciative audience.
The recording of the music with the old singers and the musicians from the Orquesta Típica Imperial was one of the most joyous moments of the whole shoot. The singers were overjoyed at being able to sing with an "Orquesta Típica", a traditionally-structured tango orchestra. And for the young musicians it was a fascinating experience to be able to play with such experienced singers.
For me it was an immense joy to make this film, to encounter again the music from Buenos Aires, after living in Germany for 17 years - this music, that I carry as deep inside me as my mother tongue. It has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life to be able to witness the old singers' joy at being able to do again what they most like in life, what gives them the strength to keep going every day, through so many difficulties: simply singing.
I am extremely happy that Werner Aldinger from Enja Records has published this CD and has helped to make the music of these very special singers and musicians from my beloved Buenos Aires better known. I am convinced that the joy and passion that we felt while shooting the film, has been captured on the CD, allowing everyone to get that special tango feeling… even if one is thousends of kilometers away from Buenos Aires!
German Kral, January, 2009