Profile: Pablo Larrain

Pablo Larrain

Name Pablo Larrain

Born 19 August 1976, Santiago, Chile

Background Pablo Larrain studied film at the UNIACC university in Chile. After working as an assistant director on several films, he started to direct commercials. His debut film Fuga, about a frustrated composer, was released in South America in March 2006 and won several domestic awards. He founded a company, Fabula, and produced Sebastian Silva’s film La Vida Me Mata (Life Kills Me) in 2007.

What’s he up to now? Larrain was in the shop of the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, Spain when he picked up a book called Drink. It contained a series of black and white photography of a guy in his 50s in various guises, such as sitting on a chair in his underwear with his gun in one hand and a cigarette in another. He felt like the guy had similarities to actor Alfredo Castro and when he showed the actor the book they decided to make a film inspired by the photos. Castro thought he looked like a killer and a dancer. It was then that Lorrain came up with the idea of linking this man with Saturday Night Fever, and the film Tony Manero was born.

On Saturday Night Fever ‘I can’t remember the first time I watched it. I was only two when it came out in Chile so it must have been on TV in the 80s. Saturday Night Fever is a good film, but it’s definitely not one of my favourite films. Of course, when I started on making Tony Manero I had to watch the film many, many times to see what part of the character I wanted to depict.‘

On Hollywood movies ‘American films, well almost all of them, there are a few exceptions, but most have characters who, if they are evil at the start, they’ll end up good by the end. That is not like life at all. In my film I wanted to have a protagonist that does not change.’
Interesting fact John Travolta liked the film so much he only asked to be paid the actor’s guild minimum for use of his image in the movie. (Kaleem Aftab)

Tony Manero, Filmhouse, Edinburgh and selected release from Fri 10 Apr. See review.

Tony Manero

  • 4 stars
  • 2008
  • Chile / Brazil
  • 1h 37min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Pablo Larrain
  • Cast: Alfredo Castro, Paola Lattus, Héctor Morales

In 1978 Chile, 50-something-year-old Raul Peralta (Castro) spends his time watching 'Saturday Night Fever' and dreams of winning a Tony Manero (John Travolta's white-suited dancer) lookalike contest. Set against General Pinochet's installation and his embracing of American-style capitalism, Larrain's sophisticated and…