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Classless Society

Posted by on Apr 21st, 2009 and filed under Film, Pictures. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

How does a film about a serial killer set during Pinochet’s reign in Chile end up being a feel-good movie?

I think it was that cheery Glaswegian Football Manager Alex Ferguson who coined the phrase that Football was the ‘Theatre of the Working Class’. Historically he may have been correct, but the present cost of a good seat at a Premiership match, combined with a decent prawn sandwich and travel, won’t leave you with much to spare from fifty quid. I can’t help feeling cinema’s the new theatre of the working class, although we seem to be living in a time when it’s hard to define what class you’re actually in and, if it is definable, is it possible to get expelled to a better one?

Tony Manero is a low budget independent movie that touches on social advancement. The main character Raul (Alfredo Castro) is a 52 year old malcontent who sees his route to celebrity as a contestant on what could be considered 1978 Chile’s version of Britain’s Got Talent. The top prize is a blender, but with the opportunity to return and win seventy thousand pesos.

It’s the movie’s main plot, although that’s overshadowed by the fact that Raul is obsessed by Travolta’s role in Saturday Night Fever. Like Travolta, he sees his ability to perform amazing dance moves to a crowd of awestruck bystanders as a route out of his mundane life as a petty criminal. Unlike Travolta, the Pinochet Chilean version is happy to perform serial killing activities on people he sees as obstacles in his singular pursuit of stardom. 

Obviously this is not a ‘couples movie’ and if someone has taken you to see it on a first date tell them you’re just going to the loo and then move to another country, presumably with a more temperate climate but after seeing this film probably not Chile. 

While not the best film you’ll see this year it had a chilling grimness that leaves you in no doubt you’ll be thinking about it long after most Hollywood Fodder has slipped your mind. It exposes the lengths people will go to advance themselves, and how much more perverse it can be in a society where morality’s barometer has long ceased working.

How does this make it a feelgood movie you ask? Purely through stumbling across this week’s  ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. It made me think about talent shows and Tony Manero. One act came on stage dressed as Darth Vader. He then spent his five minutes of fame initially spinning a light sabre (badly) before bookending it with two minutes of the most inept ‘Moonwalking’ to Michael Jackson’s ‘Billy Jean’. It was so painful compulsory anaesthesia should have been piped to every home that received it, but it wasn’t the contestant’s ineptitude that left me uneasy. Just the fact that he never took his mask off, even after he’d been successfully voted through to the next round.

Suddenly I was eternally grateful that for all democracy’s faults, thank God (or in Richard Dawkins’ case, the randomness of nature) we don’t live in a military junta.

1 Response for “Classless Society”

  1. roomybonce says:

    Yes indeed, hello Lord, and thanks for this. I think there’s definitely legs to be had from a Britain’s Got Talent contestant becoming a serial killer. This Darth Vader fellow, with his impenetrable mask and comedy accent, is a prime candidate, but what if this new global superstar Susan Boyle is hiding a dark secret?

    What if there have been a few mysterious disappearances, or poisonings, in her remote Highland village over the decades? Who would suspect shy Susan of committing such foul acts? No-one. And so she walks free to sit on Oprah’s couch and talk about her lack of tonsil-hockey action while the empty eye sockets of her gullible victims stare through six feet of soil at the soles of children’s shoes as they skip across the meadow.

    Shocking, I know, but how long before the truth will out? I hereby bag the book rights.

    Welcome once again Lord, and feel free to comment on whatever posts take your fancy.


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