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Animation / Tango

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Tango is a 1981 animated short film from Poland, directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski.

This eight-minute short is a single static shot of a typical cramped studio apartment of the communist era—enough room for a small dinner table, a bed, a bassinet, and some shelving. A ball flies in through the open window; a boy climbs in and retrieves it and then leaves. Then the action repeats again. And again. And again. A mother enters with a baby, sits at the table and nurses the baby, places the baby in a bassinet, and leaves. Then she reappears and repeats her action again, and again, and again, and again....

Then more people enter the apartment, and more, and more, and more, and MORE, each repeating their action in an endless loop.



  • The Alcoholic: A drunkard who comes in wobbling unsteadily, pops open a flask, downs a swig, and staggers out.
  • Book Ends: The film starts with the ball flying through the window and the boy retrieving it. At the end all the characters leave except for the old lady in the black dress who was lying on the bed. She gets up, picks up the ball, and leaves.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: The young man and woman who hump on the bed for a little bit.
  • Medium Blending: A hand-drawn animated cel with stop-motion photos of real people.
  • Mickey Mousing: All the actions of the many, many characters happen in time to the tango music.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Except for the yell the one man lets out when he falls from the table.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The nude and very good-looking blonde woman who enters the apartment, puts on a dress, and leaves.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Oner: The camera never moves throughout the short.
  • Overt Operative: One character is dressed in classic Overt Operative style, black coat, black gloves, black sunglasses, furtive manner. He climbs in the window, sneaks along the wall, steals the package, and climbs back out.
  • The Stateroom Sketch: It starts with one little boy retrieving his ball. In the end, there are thirty-six people passing through the apartment. A partial list:
    • The boy retrieving the ball.
    • The mother nursing a baby.
    • A schoolgirl who does homework at the table.
    • A man in a red coat who puts a package on top of the shelves.
    • A man who's either a thief or an Overt Operative spy who enters by the window and steals that package.
    • An old lady who sets a plate of food down on the dinner table, and an old man who sits down at the table and eats it.
    • An athlete of some sorts in exercise clothes who comes into the room and does a handstand on a chair.
    • A woman who comes in and sets some packages down on the shelving, and a naked woman who gets some clothes out of those packages and puts them on.
    • A man who stands on the table to fix a light, only to fall off.
    • An older woman who puts a plate with a large drumstick or a leg of lamb on the table.
    • A plumber who walks through the apartment carrying a toilet and some piping.
    • A man who retrieves a uniform (bus driver? hotel bellhop?) from the shelving and puts it on.
    • A man who looks wobbly and somewhat intoxicated.
    • A maid sweeping up.
    • A man and a woman who start necking and then have sex on the bed.
    • A man walking a dog.
    • A mother with a toddler, who changes the toddler's diaper.
    • A man in a bathrobe holding a newspaper, who knocks on the restroom door, apparently wanting to use it.
    • A man with a briefcase who kind of just wanders around.
    • An old woman in a black dress who lies down on the bed.
  • Stop Motion: Pictures of real people cut out and animated against a cel-drawn background.