Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tony Manero - Pablo Larrain (2008 Chile)

Santiago de Chile, 1978.

In the midst of the tough social context of Pinochets dictatorship, Raul Peralta, a man in his fifties, is obsessed with the idea of impersonating ''Tony Manero'', John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever.

Raul leads a small group of dancers regularly performing at a bar located in the outskirts of the city. Every Saturday evening, he unleashes his passion for the film's music by imitating his idol. His dream of being recognized as a successful showbiz star is about to become a reality when the national television announces a ''Tony Manero'' impersonating contest. His urge to reproduce his idol's likeness drives him to commit a series of crimes and thefts.

In the meantime, his dancing partners, who are involved in underground activities against the regime, are persecuted by the government's secret police.

Tony Manero is a story about loss of identity and obsession in the recent Chilean history.

Tony Manero is one messed up film. This is such a dirty looking piece of cinema that just oozes sleeze and poverty. Lead character Raul is both captivating and revolting at the same time. Cinematography feels right for the era too with shots often left out of focus until our hero comes back to his first position.


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