DVD Tony Manero  [Region 1] (DVD 6937532),
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Tony Manero  [Region 1]
Region 1 USA/CA (
Chilean director Pablo Lorrain's TONY MANERO is a film that has very few cinematic precedents, if any. Establishing a tone of its daringly original own, it somehow manages to be three things at once: a powerful portrait of life lived under a dictatorship, a bitter critique of an individual who will do anything to reach his goal, and a blackly comic satire of celebrity obsession. Raul Peralta (Alfredo Castro) is a 50-something man who lives in Santiago during the fearful, suffocating days of Augusto Pinochet's rule. Raul is obsessed with John Travolta's character from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER--hence, the film's title--to the point where he's even bought a white suit similar to Manero's. Each weekend, he performs with a small group of dancers at a small bar, recreating the moves from his favorite movie. But when the stage's wood begins to weaken, Raul is determined to rebuild it with glass blocks that light up. He finds an even more important purpose when a television station announces that they're holding a Tony Manero dance-and-look-a-like contest. In such a stifling social climate, Raul takes matters into his own hands, doing whatever it takes to make his dream come true.
The tone of TONY MANERO is virtually impossible to describe, for the film's most brutal moments are actually its funniest. It doesn't seem appropriate to laugh at Raul's violent, unethical behavior, but it's hard not to. The fact that Lorrain chose to shoot the film in a fly-on-the-wall manner on grainy 16mm contrasts with the outlandish situations unfolding within the frame, resulting in an experience that will confuse many viewers and electrify others. TONY MANERO is a startlingly original achievement, marking Lorrain as a director to watch in the future.
Amparo Noguera, Paola Lattus, Alfredo Castro, Elsa Poblete, Hector Morales
"While the combination of an obsession with Hollywood fantasy and gruesome sociopathic behavior is blackly satiric at first glance, director/co-writer Pablo Larrain is clearly after more than cynical laughter."
"TONY MANERO is an extremely dark meditation on borrowed cultural identity."
New York Times
3 stars out of 5 -- "Larrain's consciously raw execution in telling the story of a compelling but ultimately unsavory character is an id-bending exercise in provocation that's both competent and challenging..."
"Pablo Larrain's provocative and original TONY MANERO is a stinging allegory on the corrosive effects of the Pinochet regime in Chile..."
Los Angeles Times
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