127 minutes| U.S.A.-Italy-Spain-Argentina| 2009| Black and White/Colour

For a filmmaker with absolutely nothing left to prove, Francis Ford Coppola takes a lot of chances with this fever-dream family drama set in a film-noir Buenos Aires.
Its story of simmering tensions in a dynasty lorded over by a famous conductor plays on Coppola’s own personal history, as teenager Bennie (newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) skips his waiting job on a cruise liner to contact his long-exiled elder brother Tetro (Vincent Gallo, splendidly mean and moody), who’s shacked up in the Argentine capital with sultry Miranda (Mirabel Verdu of Y tu mama tambien fame), grappling with writer’s block, and hardly pleased to see him. Exorcising their shared tragic past is the only way the siblings can move forward, and Coppola ramps up the melodrama to a fearless degree. Arguably, coherence takes a back seat to flourishing gestures, but Coppola delivers an intoxicating black-and-white fantasia that’s evidently the work of a man discovering the magic of cinema all over again. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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