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Let’s make things simple and blunt this week:

Tony Manero (Kino) — The first time I saw Pablo Larrain’s Tony Manero (at its 2008 New York Film Festival press screening), I didn’t quite know how to wrap my head around it. Was it a satire of celebrity obsession run murderously amok? Was it a harsh indictment of General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorial reign over Chile from 1973-1990? Was it an even harsher critique of the United States, who had backed the 1973 coup that led to the death of President Salvador Allende and subsequent insertion of Pinochet into power? Were we, in fact, to take this psychopathic main character to be a bluntly metaphorical stand-in for Pinochet himself? Or was the film’s political backdrop just that—a backdrop? Was it okay to merely refer to Tony Manero as quite possibly the driest, blackest comedy ever? Having recently watched Larrain’s film for a second time, my opinion is that while those politically metaphorical readings are valid, there’s no need to take things in that direction. For me, Tony Manero’s most striking trait is its feverishly demented tone—a fusion of so many clashing styles that it spins on a dance floor of its very own. Read the rest of my review, then buy it on DVD.

— Michael Tully

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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