Monday, 12 July 2010


Isn't it a fine thing to still be able to view new film releases from the legendary directors you first discovered as an impressionable teenage slacker in the cult classic section of your local video shop? No, I'm not talking about Woody Allen's Whatever Works (in that film - nothing) or Scorsese's melodramatic Shutter Island, but rather Francis Ford Coppola's epic Tetro starring achingly charismatic indie weirdo Vincent Gallo and stunning (if jailbaitish) newcomer Alden Ehrenreich.

Tetro continues Coppola's commendable move toward more auteurish film-making begun with 2007's Youth Without Youth. The film centres on Gallo's bull-in-a-china-shop bohemian Tetro (in self-imposed South American exile from his family) and his younger brother Bennie's attempt to forge a relationship with him - piecing together Tetro's mysterious past through his coded writings.

Coppola's balmy Buenos Aires setting and stark black and white cinematography reference the anxious Tijuana tension of Orson Welles' Touch Of Evil, and the film's protracted overwrought theatre sequences in the second half are positively Felliniesque. Just as the baroque, meandering narrative threatens to lose it way, the film sharply plunges back into focus with the revelation that Tetro is not Bennie's badass brother at all, but an altogether more sympathetic, complex and ultimately likable character.

Name checking Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes and other key films in the narrative, Coppola has crafted a film lover's film, rich with all the traditional strengths of vintage film-making so often missing from today's often deplorably formulaic Hollywood fare. Now if only Vincent Gallo would stop the witch hunt against Harmony Korine and 'poorly hung men' and reply to my emails...the twat.

All images courtesy of Google

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