Tony Manero (Chile 2008), Pablo Larraín’s penetrating portrait of a man who has forgotten his own history and culture in pursuit of an alien dream of success.
In Santiago de Chile, 1978, Pinochet’s dictatorship has Chilean citizens coping with a nightly curfew, constant military patrols and the omnipresent threat of violence. In the midst of it, a middle-aged man named Raúl (Alfredo Castro) is obsessed with the idea of impersonating Tony Manero, John Travolta’s character from Saturday Night Fever. On the outskirts of the city, he leads a small group of devoted dancers who have their sights set on an upcoming “Tony look-alike” television competition. Raúl’s immoderate desire to win, coupled with an obsessive need to recreate the glass dance floor from the movie, leads him to commit a series of crimes and thefts and to act increasingly autocratic and cruel with his fellow hoofers. “Shot on 16mm, Tony Manero has a purposefully murky look and a frantic feel. The ultra-Dardenne camera follows Raúl as he darts through Santiago’s empty alleys and vacant lots, only pausing when he raptly watches Saturday Night Fever or attempts to imitate Tony's stomp-and-point rhythmic flailing. Feasting on this bizarre fascist posturing, director Pablo Larraín suggests that, with his sordid charisma, Raúl is a miniature Pinochet—reproducing the brutality of the state in his willingness to steal, exploit, betray and kill in the service of a fantasy.” —J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Written by Alfredo Castro, Mateo Iribarren, Pablo Larraín. Photographed by Sergio Armstrong. With Alfredo Castro, Paola Lattus, Héctor Morales. In Spanish with English subtitles. 98 min. Distributed by Lorber Films.
Official Website: http://www.sffs.org/content.aspx?catid=8,59&pageid=1218
Added by cinesoul on August 18, 2009