Films & Schedules

  • Tony Manero

  • Pablo Larraín

98 minutes

Production Company:
Fabula Productions/ Prodigital
Juan de Dios Larraín
Pablo Larraín, Alfredo Castro, Mateo Iribarren
Production Designer:
Polin Garbisú
Sergio Armstrong
Andrea Chignoli
Miguel Hormazábal
Principal Cast: Alfredo Castro, Amparo Noguera, Héctor Morales, Paola Lattus, Elsa Poblete

International Sales Agent:
Funny Balloons

Friday September 0506:00PM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 0506:00PM AMC 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 0609:15AM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 0609:15AM AMC 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1312:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Tyrannical regimes breed Machiavellian characters, a concept that Pablo Larraín examines in his second, highly accomplished feature. Set in 1978 during Augusto Pinochet's oppressive reign over Chile, Tony Manero explores the sort of ruthless society that is created when people are too afraid to speak their minds, and are threatened with death, torture and abduction.

Raúl (masterfully played by Alfredo Castro) is obsessed with John Travolta's Tony Manero character from Saturday Night Fever. He is often the only audience member at the cinema, where he repeats the dialogue in an effort to “become” Tony Manero, hoping to win a look-alike contest that is being held on television. He and his “sort of” girlfriend Cony (Amparo Noguera), along with her daughter Pauli (Paola Lattus) and Pauli's boyfriend Goyo (Héctor Morales), practise a dance routine that they hope to perform at a humble bar owned by Wilma (Elsa Poblete). Raúl becomes fixated on getting a floor that lights up like the one in Saturday Night Fever, and the extents to which he will go to achieve this aim may even include murder.

Larraín creates a microcosm of Chile under Pinochet. It is a dog-eat-dog environment where people are willing to steal, turn against their families and even kill in order to get what they want. The film offers a scathing reflection of the modus operandi of Pinochet's government, in which the easiest way to stop someone from speaking was to silence them permanently.

The absurdity of four adults practising a disco routine – and their obsession with a fictional character who embodied the American dream – highlights the terrible cultural colonialism to which Chile and many developing nations fall victim. The irony that America was largely responsible for Pinochet's coup makes the situation all the more banal and pathetic.

Larraín's storytelling abilities are truly unique. Few of this year's films will surprise and elicit reflection like Tony Manero. It communicates on many levels – not only because Larraín creates a universe that encompasses Chile's recent history, but because he does so by juxtaposing disco and dictatorship.

Diana Sanchez

Pablo Larraín was born in Santiago de Chile and studied at UNIACC University. He made his feature debut with Fuga in 2006. Tony Manero (08) is his second feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award