CHRIS COTE a bit shabby, yet charming guy in his fifties with grey curly hair and mediterranean looks is sitting in a plane. He is scrolling through photos on his computer. The lady sitting beside him gets interested after Chris reveals that all the pictures are from Finland.
Chris starts to tell the stories behind the pictures.
Episode 1, ”The Lonely King”
Chris has hitched a ride and ended up to an odd place called AAVARANTA, where the interesting chain of events later takes place.
Every year Finland holds a competition for upcoming tango singers. The winners are crowned as Tango King and Queen. Surprisingly often they end up getting romantically involved. This year the romance of these two has ended in a tragic way. The new Queen was shot dead by her jealous, soon-to-be ex husband. The heartbroken King was taken to hospital, badly injured.
After a recovery period the King, still in misery, arrives into the VILLAGE of Tango Kings and Queens, Aavaranta.
In Aavaranta the former tango royalties are all happily married together, making the new King the odd one; pitied by some, feared by others.
There is a welcoming ceremony during which the new King meets all the villagers, among them also Chris and the mysterious femme fatale, YVONNE HELSINGIUS.
Soon the King lives similar life to the others; early evening heading for the gig in one of the dance halls, getting back in the early hours of the morning. The hard work at the struggling tango scene takes its toll. (Because the ongoing free jazz boom in Finland the popularity of traditional Finnish tango has declined dramatically.) The new king feels miserable and he is longing for true love.
One day he meets a girl of his dreams. The girl lives on a small island across the lake, opposite of Aavaranta. They fall in love. But the villagers don´t accept the relationship between The King and the girl, an outsider, a nobody. They decide to take action.
While the king is away on a gig, the women of the village take the girl out on the lake on a ”kirkkovene”, a very big rowing boat. They make the girl ”accidentally” drop into the lake and leave her to drown.
When the King comes home, he finds the girl washed ashore.
Thinking the girl is dead, the King decides to drown himself to be together with his loved one.
But the girl wakes up. And when she finds out the King is dead, she jumps into the lake.
Last thing we see is her swimming towards the sunrise.
Chris and the lady are still sitting in the plane. After hearing the first part of the story, the lady gets even more interested in Chris and his reasons for going to Finland in the first place.
Chris tells about his troubled relationship back home and the lack of job opportunities for a free jazz guitar player in U.S.
Chris continues his story. Now he tells what happened before he came to Aavaranta.
Episode 2, “The Cage of Freedom”
There has been a huge free jazz boom going on in Finland for several years. Free jazz musicians are teen idols, records top the charts and the bands fill up huge venues all around the country. The brightest star of them all is IDIOM, the band Chris plays guitar in.
The leader of Idiom, ASEL, is a career oriented, determined and a little pompous sax player. The bass player VARKKI, is mostly interested in pleasing the crowds and thus generating as much money as possible. The drummer, HANSKI, is a mellow boozy dude, who secretly loves Finnish tango. Chris also has been digging into history of Finnish tango, and he is impressed. The band starts to feel trapped by the massive free jazz phenomenon and begins to divide.
At the top of their game they are faced with the classic dilemma; to follow their hearts and risk losing it all or continue on the steady path of fame and fortune.
After a successful gig Chris and Hanski decide to go see a classic tango band in nearby restaurant and force the others to join them.
Due the lack of popularity and untrendiness of the finnish tango the band is performing in a nearly empty restaurant. Idiom is pretty impressed by the professionalism of the band and end up having a boozy night of laughter and brotherhood with the tango guys.
The following night hangoverish Idiom perform a set of their top free jazz hits, including “The Golden Moose”, their current number one single on the charts.
As they play the last song of the set, Chris and Hanski start experimenting with tango beats and little by little the others are forced to join them. Eventually the free jazz turns into a classic, all Finnish tango and Chris starts to sing. The booing crowd starts leaving the concert, disappointed. Only a few young girls remain, staring Chris, bewildered. And at the back of the restaurant Chris sees the femme fatale, Yvonne Helsingius. Their eyes meet. There is an instant connection.
Next morning the band packs up their van and head towards their uncertain, but joyfully open future.
Back on the plane Chris tells about his enthusiasm about the band’s future. But he also mentions that life often offers surprises.
The story continues.
Episode 3, “Tango Nazis F**k Off”
Chris gets fired from the band for being already too “Finnish”, meaning his drinking has gotten out of hands. Band recommends him to find a tango orchestra to play with, because “they’ll tolerate anything.”
Chris is left in a hotel somewhere in the middle of Finland and tries to hitch a ride.
A former Tango Queen picks him up and after trying to seduce him, takes him to Aavaranta, the village of Tango Royalty. (And right here we are back in the beginning of the first episode.)
Being a guitar player, Chris immediately makes friends among the villagers.
Chris takes part in the welcoming ceremony of the new Tango King and sets his eyes on the mysterious femme fatale, Yvonne Helsingius. Chris finds out that Yvonne´s late dad was not only the “Father of the Finnish tango”, a famous composer but also the founder of Aavaranta.
Chris gets obsessed with Yvonne, borrows a rowboat and follows the recluse beauty to her cottage on an island opposite of Aavaranta.
When Chris confronts Yvonne, they connect immediately and he gains her trust. She tells about her dad and her past. She takes Chris to her studio where she has been editing her new documentary.
The documentary tells the Real Story of Finnish tango:
When the nazis fled from Finland on submarines on the last days of
world war II they took bunch of 78 rpm records of original Finnish tango with them.
Once they arrived in Argentina, those records immediately gained a huge popularity among Juan Peron´s corrupted elite and their nazi comrades. Wild, sometimes perverted parties were thrown. During those decadent orgies the great Finnish records caught the attention of the local composer and political strategists. They decided that this new musical style was just perfect for boosting the patriotism and national pride. Composer stole Yvonne´s father´s song and wrote highly patriotic lyrics that were borderline fascist.
The patriotic song soon became an international hit and the translated versions of it were recorded all around the world, even in Finland.
Yvonne plays the Finnish translated version of the song to Chris. The lyrics are almost identical to the original nationalist Argentinian one.
Then she gets another 78 rpm record from her vault. It was released way earlier, before the war. Credited to her father the lyrics of the song embrace the world and praises internationalism, freedom and the brotherhood of man.
Right here and now Chris realizes how the worldwide musical phenomenon really was born. A huge success story, nowadays falsely known as Argentinian tango. It all roots back to those records that nazis brought with them. From Finland to Argentina.
Romantic feelings arise between Chris and Yvonne. Chris realizes that Yvonne´s daughter MAYA, is the girl who the villagers tried to drown earlier. Maya suggests that Chris could stay with them on the island.
On a plane Chris tells the lady that he´s not the kind of guy who sneaks out of relationship, so he had to get back home…
Chris notices that the lady is fast asleep and the plane starts landing.
After the customs we see Yvonne and Maya waving at Chris and we realize that he was already on his way back to Finland.
Yvonne´s father´s beautiful tango plays with a full orchestra and Chris is singing the original humanistic lyrics.
We see Chris playing the song on the beach of the island. Across the lake, In Aavaranta, there are police cars and cops arresting the villagers, who had tried to drown Maya.
Chris keeps on playing the song and little by little the sound of the orchestra fades. Now there is only Chris singing.
Last thing we see is Chris, Yvonne and Maya gathered around the bonfire in the still of the night. Chris playing guitar and singing about the eternal beauty of life, friendship and love that conquers all.
UPDATE April 4th: 4th version of the script is complete.