Tony Manero

Pablo Larraín

Saturday Night Fever in grim Chili in the year 1978. Augusto Pinochet’s regime is oppressing and killing, yet all Raúl can think about is winning a John Travolta lookalike contest. Fascinating story about obsession delivers an impressive analysis of dictatorship, subclass and Americanisation.

Santiago, 1978. A Chilean TV show hosts a lookalike contest, while every critic is being arrested, tortured or killed by Augusto Pinochet’s regime. Poor Raúl (Alfredo Castro) is convinced that he will win this contest as the one and only Tony Manero, not least because a dance floor with lit tiles is put at his disposal. Motivated by his obsession and the aggrieved tunnel vision of a belittled loser, immoral opportunist Raúl wants the entire Chilean population to witness how he makes his dream come true. Tony Manero shows that Chili, about twenty years after the fall of dictatorship, is still very much getting to terms with the past. Larraín’s film does not focus on dictatorship, but draws a parallel with contemporary Chilean society through the idolisation of Tony Manero. According to Larraín, his country has squandered its original culture and traditions and is now completely Americanised. A critical, shocking and at times hilarious film.

Tony Manero was the first film in Pablo Larraín’s impressive trilogy about the dark aspects of general Pinochet’s regime. The 2013 Movies that Matter Festival 2013 will screen Larraín’s full trilogy, which further consists of Post Mortem and No.


Pablo Larraín
Juan de Dios Larraín
Country of production
Chile, Brazil
97 minutes
Spoken language
English, Spanish
Production company
World Sales
Funny Balloons
Dutch distributor
Hubert Bals Fonds