El Pibe Carlitos, Hombre y Mito, is the new Gardel exhibit that is being showcased at the Casa de la Cultura until the 30th of April. The exhibition features the largest tango collection in the world and includes new cinematographic material that has never been screened before, and music by the famous Argentine artist that had never been published.
The exhibition shows Gardel’s life from his early youth to his years as the country’s most renowned tanguero. It includes film footage, music and records, and a collection of objects such as a guitar, hats and more.
The exhibit is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 8pm until the 30th of April at the Salón Dorado in Casa de la Cultura. Av. De Mayo 575, first floor, downtown.
Carlos Gardel is a controversial Argentine icon. For starters, he wasn’t born in Argentina; according to the official version he was born on the 11th of December of 1890 in Toulouse, France but many dispute he was an illegitimate child born in Uruguay. At the age of three he moved with his mother from France to Buenos Aires. They settled in the neighborhood of Abasto but it wasn´t until later on in his life that he was nationalized as an Argentine.
His music career began early on after dropping out of high school. He already had a great singing voice and was baptized “El Zorzal Criollo” (The Criollo Thrush) by one of his first musical influences, José Betinotti with whom he sang duets, who encouraged him to start singing popular songs at the neighborhood cafes and bars. Together they recorded their first album and began touring, acquiring increasing popularity. Gardel then went on to star in the silent film “Flor de Durazno” which brought him even more attention and it was during this period that he began to sing tangos renewing the genres identity. In 1918 he recorded Flor de Fango and in 1919 De Vuelta al Bulín, progressively building his career.
In 1923 he formed the duet Gardel-Razzano until the later began having trouble with his voice and became Gardel’s manager. Once more as a solo singer his fame skyrocketed as he became increasingly popular in Spain and France.
The talented singer and songwriter began to interact with the silver screen once again on the production of 15 short films, and on one of his trips to France he formed a friendship with non other than Charles Chaplin who opened new doors to him. In 1931 he signed a contract with Paramount pictures to record Luces de Buenos Aires which was musicalized by several tango composers of the time. The film became a hit with the Spanish public and it is said that movie theatres were often asked to pause and rewind the film to play the part where Gardel sang over and over.
His cinematographic and musical career continued to expand and he moved to New York where he participated in many productions until he died in a plane crash in Medellin, Colombia, in 1935.
The talented “Zorzal Criollo” has since become the most remembered tango legend the Buenos Aires streets have seen.
More on Carlos Gardel can be seen in his Abasto house which is now a museum that not only shows exhibits on Gardel and other influential tango composers and singers, but also stages live music and screenings of tango films. Jean Jaurés 735, Abasto. 4964-2015.
The Argentine film industry is one of the most developed in Latin America and dates back to 1897, 80 years after the Argentina independence and not long after the birth of cinematography. This early incorporation of film into the local culture has been fortunate as it has left behind documentation of the city’s development, issues and identity due to the common thematic of Argentine films, mostly centered around local customs, literature and social conflicts.
Immigrants, indigenous people, the birth of tango, gaucho heroes, labor issues, local literary adaptations, peronism, dictatorships, present subject matter of Buenos Aires, portraits of people from the South and North of Argentina, and descriptions of a stagnated society are all themes of many films the country has produced and been awarded for, including two Oscars for best foreign films (La Historia Oficial 1986-Luis Puenzo and El Secreto de Sus Ojos 2010- Juan Jose Campanella).
For a closer look at local film the Pablo Ducros Hickens Film Museum in La Boca, has recently reopened and showcases equipment and antique optical artifacts, props, set designs, costumes, screenplays, awards, objects, photographs, and other documentation relating to the local industry. They are also working with the Carlos Gardel Museum where current and old tango films with English subtitles are exhibited each Monday at 6.30pm- Address- Jean Jaurés 735, Abasto.