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Tony Manero

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Looking at Tony Manero, the first film in what is dubbed as Pablo Larraín's ‘unintentional trilogy,’ it’s clear that the director is not one to shy away from challenging his audience. But in doing so, is he pushing us away too?

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"Once the film is out of fashion, you think they’ll still follow you? No way."

Pablo Larraín didn’t intend to direct three films that took place during the Pinochet dictatorship – it just happening that way. Looking at Tony Manero, the first film in what is dubbed as his ‘unintentional trilogy,’ it’s clear that Larraín is not one to shy away from challenging his audience. But in doing so, is he pushing us away too? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our series on Pablo Larraín’s Unintentional Trilogy with his 2008 film, Tony Manero

We talk about why we don’t like this film, but look at what perhaps Larraín was working toward by creating such an unlikeable protagonist for the film. We discuss how well his parallels worked between Raúl’s world – an obsession with John Travolta’s character from Saturday Night Fever, general awful behavior and murder – and the world of Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship – general awful behavior and murder. We chat about actor Alfredo Castro and what he brings to the table as this despicable character. We look at the cinematography and editing in the film and, as refreshing as it is here, question how well it’s connected thematically to the story. And we look at some connections, both obvious and less so, this film has with Saturday Night Fever. 

It’s an interesting film that makes for a very challenging watch. We both had a difficult time with this one but still felt that Larraín was working toward some interesting things, even if we’re not sure he ever quite got there. But there’s a lot to talk about so check it out then tune in!

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