It's 1978, and Saturday Night Fever is the hottest film going in Chile as far as Raul is concerned. Raul has perfected his homage to Tony Manero by watching the film in an empty theater, mimicking the dance scenes and parroting the dialogue in a sort of solitary, bizarro-Rocky Horror experience, and by acting out the film in a down-at-the-heels disco cantina every night. Raul has the suit, the hair, the moves and the swagger; not bad for a 50-something-year-old man with erectile dysfunction, right? When word gets out that a new talent show will be searching for the "Tony Manero of Chile," Raul knows he's going to win — even if he has to commit a series of horrific crimes to climb to the top of the heap. On the surface, director Pablo Larrain's Tony Manero is a grungy look at a man gripped by madness; it's also a cleverly structured metaphor for the years of Augusto Pinochet's brutal dictatorship and the hopeless situation it created for everyday Chileans. The Webster Film Series screens Tony Manero at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday (May 29 through 31) at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $6.
May 29-31, 2009