Tony Manero | After a decade of failure

Ten years turns the film directed and produced by Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín brothers, makers of cinematic success as “Una Mujer Fantástica” and “No”. After harsh criticism of their first film, from “Tony Manero” onwards they have proved signs of maturity and they become the front door to new awards and nominations for Fábula production company.

Nuevos estrenos de danza para el 2019 en Santiago

After a decade of its release, “Tony Manero” caused the international film industry to once again look to Chile and its creators, winning as “Best Film” at the festivals of Turin, Havana and Rotterdam, as well as being Preselected in the list of nominees for “Best Foreign Film” for the Oscar Awards (89th edition).

One look to Tony Manero

Making dreams come true always comes at a cost. You should leave aside activities, prioritize expenses or personal relationships to achieve the desired. Raúl Peralta, the protagonist of the story, knows it well and does not care about the consequences. He lives from the show and from his dance steps, from the applause and from the lights, the rest hinders him.

“Obsessed by the details and to lengthen his youth, the protagonist fails continuously and tries to solve his faults with more crimes, being part of a vicious circle with a discouraging end”

The character played by Alfredo Castro seeks to be the Chilean Tony Manero, that young protagonist of “Saturday Night Fever” who dances disc unceasingly. However, the road is not easy: being in full military dictatorship, Raúl commits different crimes in order to finance his image and environment as the imaginary dancer.

 

Fiction and reality are constantly intermingled in Peralta’s mind. When he gets on stage, he transforms and forgets his true identity: that of a middle-class adult man who can barely live alone and who constantly escapes from his harsh environment to the rhythm of the Bee Gees. But they are also confused in television and on the big screen, central media of this story that disguises as contests and prizes the fear and violence existing in the streets of the country, besides offering as great entertainment this Yankee universe led by John Travolta.

The film highlights the obscurity of the time and the miserable life of this subject, who sometimes borders on madness to get a color television or the original roll of his favorite movie. Obsessed by the details and to lengthen his youth, the protagonist fails continuously and tries to solve his faults with more crimes, being part of a vicious circle with a discouraging end. Alfredo Castro himself said in an interview with La Tercera that year that Raúl Peralta represents “absolute failure”.

Alfredo Castro interpretando a Raúl Peralta (Fuente: Film Comment)
Raúl Peralta interpreted by Alfredo Castro (source: Film Comment)

Tony Manero” defies prejudice and pre-established role order. Neither left nor right, Raúl moves according to his own ends, a reflection of that part of Chilean society that did not seek to look bad with anyone in difficult times and continue doing his things in a calm manner, without taking sides with anyone. It also puts in check the passion for culture, for the dance in this case, feeling strongly punished by the regime and that should be carried in secret.

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