GDR, 1985, 20 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company


A melancholic dream about dance and music, as well as unfulfilled desires and wanderlust behind the Berlin Wall. Sitting at her typewriter in her Prenzlauer Berg apartment, listening to tango music, a woman (played by Helke Misselwitz) writes the script for a film about tango and dreams about Buenos Aires and Montevideo. These places are far away—a different world, where, long ago, tango was born. The film explores the tense relationship between the human desires, poetry and politics that merge in tango, and an awareness of life that can only emerge and exist in the culture in which it was born.


2021 Retrospective POESÍA DE LO COTIDIANO: Los primeros films de Helke Misselwitz, Mar del Plata Int. Film Festival, Argentina
2021 Retrospective Everyday Poetry: The Films of Helke Misselwitz, Anthology Film Archives, New York
2021 Dresden International Short Film Festival, Germany
2012 DOK Leipzig, Germany
1986 International Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany
1986 Bronze Dragon for Best Camera, Film Festival Krakow, Poland

Press comments

“I wanted to sensually convey desire for a different culture, as well as describe the impossibility of experiencing something that is out of reach.” —Helke Misselwitz, interview in Der Tagesspiegel, 2019


“Using tango, Misselwitz explores the longing for distant places, her own desires and the political history of the dance.” —dhm.de


“The distant world remains foreign, Montevideo an unattainable dream in the leaden GDR of the 1980s. A grief that, translated into dance, could be a tango.” —Grit Lemke, DOKLeipzig


“TangoDream offers Misselwitz’s most radical attempt to penetrate the surface of images of her own camera, pointing to limitations of time, distance, language, and cultural knowledge as barriers to interpreting photographic evidence of the past. […] The film was widely perceived as an expression of longing to travel and desire to escape the increasingly stifling atmosphere in the GDR.”  —Reinhild Steingröver, Last Features: East German Cinema’s Lost Generation



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