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Documentary · Production: Penelope Pictures


"You best describe the Finnish soul with the tango," says Frans Kärki while he takes his girlfriend Johanna Lahtinen in his arms. He turns her softly and bends her back sensually, spilling her jet-black hair her onto the street. There are no complicated steps or figures in the Finnish Tango; all that counts is the harmony of the couple.

It is winter in Finland and the days are short. Every weekend, Frans, the accountant and Johanna the high-school teacher travel to one of the hidden winter dance places in the Finnish countryside. They are rehearsing for the Finish Tango World Competition in the summer.

The live-band plays the famous "Satumaa", Fairytale Land, and the singer sings the brooding melody with all his heart. Johanna tries to translate the lyrics and has to smile because it is so tragic "we fins are only happy when we are unhappy".

While Germany is taken by the Argentinean Tango craze and dance schools and tango salons overflow with highly concentrated couples that perform the latest turns and steps – the Tango never left Finland. Since it came in 1913. The Fins made it their own: a little bit of Argentinean exotic, a little bit of German march and some Russian longing. People dance more Tango in Finland than in Argentina and Spain together.

The two filmmaker brothers Mika and Aki Kaurismäki, who always give the Tango an important role in their films, claim that the Finnish Tango is a Finnish invention. "Without the tango we Fins would be extinct."

The day has come: Tango Festival in Seinäjoki, Summer Solstice. More than 100.000 people came to the little town in the Midwest of Finland, that for one week is turned into the Tango capital of the world.

Ingo and Viola Brandt from Hamburg Germany came like thousand others in their campers and just want to dance. On the streets, in the halls, even during the competitions.

The two Germans dance Argentinean Tango in Hamburg. Finnish Tango is something very special to them that they can only dance here. Their tango circle back home, stick up their noses to the Finnish version. Frans and Johanna are also on the tango street. They simply love to dance. It is the night before the big competition but it does not get dark and nobody goes home until early in the morning.

Although nobody thinks they have a chance, round after round Frans and Johanna advance until the end when the winners are called: Frans Kärki, the accountant and Johanna Lahtinen the high-school teacher.