Tetro (2009) Poster

Tetro (2009)

  • Rate: 6.9/10 total 6,439 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 26 June 2009 (Spain)
  • Runtime: 127 min
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Tetro (2009)


Tetro 2009tt0964185.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Tetro (2009)
  • Rate: 6.9/10 total 6,439 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 26 June 2009 (Spain)
  • Runtime: 127 min
  • Filming Location: Argentina
  • Budget: $5,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $416,591(USA)(16 August 2009)
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Stars: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich and Maribel Verdú
  • Original Music By: Osvaldo Golijov   
  • Soundtrack: Symphony No. 36, K.425: Andante
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Ship | Writer | Cruise Ship | 18th Birthday | Play

Writing Credits By:

  • Mauricio Kartun (verse "Fausta")
  • Francis Ford Coppola  written by

Known Trivia

  • In September 2007, thieves broke into Francis Ford Coppola’s home studio in Buenos Aires and stole all the electronics, including his computer with the film’s script.
  • Originally, the tutor Alone was going to be played by Javier Bardem, but upon revising the script Francis Ford Coppola decided the relationship between Alone and Tetro would be more appealing if it was between a man and a woman, so Alone became a woman played by Carmen Maura.
  • Francis Ford Coppola wanted Matt Dillon in the title role, but Dillon was unavailable due to conflicting schedules with other films. Later, Coppola realized it would be too close to Rumble Fish (which also starred Dillon), so after a long search he settled on Vincent Gallo for the title role.
  • Adriana Mastrangelo, an Uruguayan opera singer who settled in Buenos Aires, has a cameo as herself as the singer at a party.
  • Francis Ford Coppola decided to shoot this film the same way he shot Rumble Fish (in black-and-white, with occasional bursts of colour), since both films held “a spiritual connection” with each other (both are dramas about relationships, primarily that of brotherhood).
  • To attain the film’s visual style, director Francis Ford Coppola and cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. watched La notte, Baby Doll and On the Waterfront; films Coppola had admired during his student years.
  • According to Mihai Malaimare Jr., the flashback scenes were filmed in colour, but treated to give a slightly faded texture: “Usually, when we think about the past, we think about photos and home movies, so it’s nice to preserve that feeling even if there wasn’t someone shooting there…”
  • According to Francis Ford Coppola, the film was shot on widescreen to evoke the films of Akira Kurosawa.
  • The flashback scenes were originally to be shot using 16mm film to truly emphasize past events, but since this type of film/camera was almost out of date the whole film was shot with a digital camera and the flashbacks had to be digitally treated.
  • A scene where Tetro holds a bouquet of flowers pays tribute to On the Waterfront, where Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) does the same thing.

Goofs: Continuity: Early in the movie Tetro stumbles into the kitchen with a broken leg and knocks over some furniture while lighting a cigarette using a burner on the stove. he ignites the burner by just turning the knob on the stove. A few minutes later Miranda must use a match to light a burner on the same stove-top.

Plot: Bennie travels to Buenos Aires to find his long-missing older brother, a once-promising writer who is now a remnant of his former self. Bennie's discovery of his brother's near-finished play might hold the answer to understanding their shared past and renewing their bond. Full summary » |  »

Story: The week of his 18th birthday, Bennie, who's a waiter on a cruise ship, has a layover in Buenos Aires. He seeks out his older brother, Tetro, whom he hasn't seen in years. Tetro, who lives with Miranda, is a burned-out case; he's hot and cold toward his brother, introducing him as a "friend," refusing to talk about their family, telling Bennie not to tell Miranda who their father is. Thoughts of their father cast a shadow over both brothers. Who is he, and what past has Tetro left behind? Bennie finds pages of Tetro's unfinished novel, and he pushes both to know his own history and to become a part of his brother's life again. What can come of Bennie's pushing?Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Mariela Besuievski known as co-producer: Spain (as Mariela Besuievsky)
  • Francis Ford Coppola known as producer
  • Valerio De Paolis known as producer: Italy (as Valerio Di Paolis)
  • Gerardo Herrero known as co-producer: Spain
  • Anahid Nazarian known as executive producer
  • Fred Roos known as executive producer
  • Masa Tsuyuki known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Vincent Gallo known as Angelo 'Tetro' Tetrocini
  • Alden Ehrenreich known as Bennie
  • Maribel Verdú known as Miranda
  • Silvia Pérez known as Silvana
  • Rodrigo De la Serna known as José (as Rodrigo De La Serna)
  • Erica Rivas known as Ana (as Érica Rivas)
  • Mike Amigorena known as Abelardo
  • Lucas Di Conza known as Young Tetro
  • Adriana Mastrángelo known as Ángela
  • Klaus Maria Brandauer known as Carlo / Alfie Tetrocini
  • Leticia Brédice known as Josefina
  • Sofía Gala known as María Luisa
  • Jean-François Casanovas known as Enrique
  • Carmen Maura known as Alone
  • Francesca De Sapio known as Amalia
  • Ximena Maria Iacono known as Naomi
  • Susana Giménez known as Herself
  • Pochi Ducasse known as Lili
  • Nora Elisabeth Robles known as Naomi – Dancer
  • Pedro Arturo Calveyra known as Carlo – Dancer
  • Mariela Noemi Magenta known as Ángela – Dancer
  • Marcelo Fabio Carte known as Tetro – Dancer
  • Guadalupe Docampo



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Osvaldo Esperón known as key hair stylist
  • Norberto Poli known as makeup artist
  • Beata Wojtowicz known as key makeup artist
  • Pepito Juez known as hair stylist: Spain (uncredited)
  • Gregorio Ros known as makeup artist: Spain (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • Jorge Ferrari known as designer: ballet
  • Mario Gargallo Climent known as construction manager: Spain (uncredited)
  • Javier González Duato known as construction coordinator: Spain (uncredited)
  • Martín Libert known as props (uncredited)
  • Luis Pastor known as carpenter: Spain (uncredited)
  • Luciana Quartaruolo known as props (uncredited)
  • Miguel Rodriguez known as swing gang (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • American Zoetrope (presents)
  • Zoetrope Argentina (co-production)
  • Tornasol Films (co-production)
  • BIM Distribuzione (co-production)
  • Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales (INCAA) (with the participation of)
  • Gerencia de Fomento (with the participation of)
  • Televisión Española (TVE) (with the participation of)
  • Canal+ España (with the participation of)
  • Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) (with the support of)
  • Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) (with the support of)

Other Companies:

  • Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)  thanks (uncredited)
  • Asociación Civil La Colifata, Salud Mental y Comunicación  thanks (uncredited)
  • Canal Plus  special thanks to: footage from "Tales of Hoffmann" courtesy of, © 1951 Canal + Image UK Ltd. (uncredited)
  • Cantoria Alberto Grau  choir (uncredited)
  • Celebrity Cruises  thanks (uncredited)
  • Cementerio de Chacarita  thanks (uncredited)
  • Chandon Argentina  thanks (uncredited)
  • Citroën  thanks (uncredited)
  • Criterion Collection, The  special thanks to: footage from "Tales of Hoffmann" courtesy of, © 1951 Canal + Image UK Ltd. (uncredited)
  • Criterion Collection, The  special thanks to: supplying music and picture of "Tales of Hoffmann" (uncredited)
  • Etcheberry e Hijos  thanks: customs brokers/freight forwarders (uncredited)
  • Fiat  thanks (uncredited)
  • Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires  thanks (uncredited)
  • Grupo GIP  construction: Spain (uncredited)
  • Los Glaciares National Park  thanks (uncredited)
  • National Children's Choir of Argentina  choir (uncredited)
  • Renault  thanks (uncredited)
  • Swarovski  thanks (uncredited)


  • American Zoetrope (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
  • BIM Distribuzione (2009) (Italy) (theatrical)
  • Clap – Produção de Filmes (2009) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • Comstock Group (2012) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Memento Films (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Mongrel Media (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Alta Films (2009) (Spain) (all media)
  • Feelgood Entertainment (2009) (Greece) (all media)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2010) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2009) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Imovision (2010) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2010) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Mongrel Media (2010) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Paramount Japan (2012) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Soda Pictures (2010) (UK) (all media)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Nasa FX (special effects) (uncredited)
  • Universal Production Partners (UPP) (visual effects by) (as UPP Prague)

Visual Effects by:

  • Tomas Kalhous known as head of 2D: UPP
  • Tomas Kalhous known as senior compositor: UPP
  • Vincent Badia known as flame operator: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Kevin Bailey known as additional visual effects: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Stepán Batousek known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Ezequiel Borovinsky known as visual effects (uncredited)
  • Ryan Bozajian known as visual effects artist (uncredited)
  • Dennis Dallen known as senior compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Mario Dubec known as 3d artist: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Blanka Faitova known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Miro Gal known as senior flame artist: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Ales Gargulak known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Tomas Hajek known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Lukas Herrmann known as matte painter: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Jan Heusler known as senior compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Zuzana Hlavkova known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Milos Hudec known as data operator: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Dalibor Janda known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Jana Jurnickova known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Helena Keslova known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Pavel Kolar known as visual effects artist (uncredited)
  • Vít Komrzý known as visual effects producer: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Vaclav Kostun known as matchmove artist (uncredited)
  • Sara Kramarz known as production accountant: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Tomas Krejzek known as 3d artist: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Jirí Linhart known as digital effects artist (uncredited)
  • Petr Masek known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Vladimír Matousek known as 3d artist: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Jaroslav Matys known as head of visual effects production: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Daniel Melich known as matte painter: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Juan Pablo Menchon known as additional visual effects (uncredited)
  • Viktor Muller known as visual effects supervisor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Tomas Munzar known as visual effects artist (uncredited)
  • Monika Pavlickova known as visual effects executive producer: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Robert Pik known as on-set visual effects assistant: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Katerina Popelova known as visual effects coordinator: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Marek Ruth known as senior compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Tereza Severova known as matte painter: UPP Prague (uncredited)
  • Jiri Stamfest known as matte artist (uncredited)
  • Jakub Szilvasi known as rotoscope artist (uncredited)
  • Alejo Varisto known as visual effects coordinator (uncredited)
  • Petr Vcelicka known as compositor: UPP Prague (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • France 14 May 2009 (Cannes Film Festival)
  • USA 10 June 2009 (Seattle International Film Festival)
  • USA 11 June 2009 (limited)
  • Spain 26 June 2009
  • Canada 14 August 2009 (Toronto)
  • Canada 9 October 2009 (Vancouver International Film Festival)
  • Mexico 9 October 2009 (Morelia Film Festival)
  • Greece 1 November 2009 (Panorama of European Cinema)
  • Austria 2 November 2009 (Vienna International Film Festival)
  • Portugal 8 November 2009 (Estoril Film Festival)
  • France 9 November 2009 (Arras Film Festival)
  • Greece 12 November 2009
  • Italy 18 November 2009 (Turin Film Festival)
  • Portugal 19 November 2009
  • Italy 20 November 2009
  • Sweden 27 November 2009 (Stockholm International Film Festival)
  • France 23 December 2009
  • Netherlands January 2010 (International Film Festival Rotterdam)
  • Germany 12 February 2010 (European Film Market)
  • Hong Kong 29 March 2010 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
  • Hungary 29 April 2010
  • UK 25 June 2010
  • Australia 24 July 2010 (Melbourne International Film Festival)
  • Poland 3 September 2010
  • Japan 20 September 2010 (Latin Beat Film Festival)
  • Brazil 10 December 2010
  • Israel 27 January 2011
  • Czech Republic 12 May 2011
  • Mexico 23 September 2011
  • Japan 7 January 2012

MPAA: Rated R for language, some sexuality and nudity



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. marcosaguado from Los Angeles, USA
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    Enthralling, captivating. Buenos Aires, maybe? Black and White scopemostly, the limpid soul and devastating smile of Alden Ehrenreich.Coppola enjoys his freedom and so do we. At the base of it all, a juicymelodrama but the master flies over it with a tireless, youthful zest.Vincent Gallo seem a bit of an odd choice to play the title role and infact I just found out that Matt Dillon was supposed to have played it.It certainly would have added up the romanticism and the sensualitythat runs through it but, never mind. Alden Ehrenreich as Bennie is,quite simply, fantastic. Maribel Verdu another stand out as Tetro'sloving if long suffering companion. Karl Maria Brandauer is horriblyperfect, a character that emanates the kind of debauchery fame androtten ego can provide. "There is room for just one genius in thisfamily" I saw the film last night and it hasn't left me for a moment. Ican't wait to see it again.

  2. the-ppfitzgeralds from Ireland
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    Thousand of miles away from Hollywood, the great Francis Coppolaconfronts something personal as a human being as well as a filmmaker.The story a young man looking for his older brother under the cripplingshadow of a famous father. Hummm. Compelling, absorbing, mesmerizing attimes. The younger brother is played with real magic by newcomer AldenEhrenreich but for some inexplicable reason the older brother and titlerole is played by Vincent Gallo. He's an interesting guy but not at allthe pivot that, clearly, the part required. I needed to feel thingsthat Gallo didn't provide. He's just weird and even in the enormousemotional scenes (like the final one) he's not really there. I wonderwhy Coppola made this bizarre casting decision. The rest of the cast isfabulous and Buenos Aires breaths a life of its own even if, it didn'tfeel like Buenos Aires – I know that city pretty well – it looked attimes like a border town in Mexico. Buenos Aires has an old fashion,seductive kind of elegance nowhere to be found here. I'm sure there isreason for it and I hope to discover it in my next viewing because thisis a film I know I'll see many, many times. Another thing to cheerabout, a strange and haunting score (it reminded me of "Apartment Zero"in more ways than one) and a sensational black and white Cinemascopescreen. To be seen!

  3. MisterWhiplash from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    Tetro may be the "best" film Francis Ford Coppola has made intwenty-five years. Whether this speaks more to the quality of hispresent state of direction as an artist or on the relative hits andmisses of his career in the dregs of Hollywood (be it aiming high andjust missing the mark with Godfather 3 and Dracula to stuff that wentover people's heads like Youth Without Youth to even crap like Jack) isa combination. He's someone who attained financial success at a time,but then lost nearly all of it and along with it, arguably, some of hisartistic merit. But after years of laying low and making wine, andmaking a whacked-out experiment that people either dug as an abstractpiece or hated to hell ('Youth'), he comes out with Tetro like a pornstar with a five-foot erection. He's got something to prove, if not tohis audience then himself, and he proves it with a story that ispersonal and a film-making technique that recalls other masters butnever too directly.

    Tetro is about family, a subject Coppola is, of course, well-versed inbeing it the notorious kind (of course, the Godfather) and the morelow-level and oddly intimate (Rumble Fish). It's a story, as withRumble Fish, told in crisp black and white widescreen with flashes ofcolor for flashbacks which may or may not be real, and as homage tooperas like The Tales of Hoffmann. The title character, wonderfully andintensely portrayed by Vincent Gallo, is in a creative exile in BuenosAires, a once promising writer living with his doctor-wife (MaribelVerdu, great as always) who is paid a visit one day by a young man, hisbrother Bennie (baby-faced newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) who hasn't seenhim in years. There's secrets withheld by Tetro, not least of whichabout their parents, and soon an unfinished, longhand written play byTetro (real name Angelo) is discovered by Bennie in a suitcase. He'llfinish his brother's play, but at what cost?

    The damaged, almost bi-polar writer, the insistent and impressionablebrother, the strong but uncertain woman, these characters are fullyrealized by Coppola, and then on top of this comes a sort of terrificpuzzle that is constructed through Tetro's unfinished play: what abouttheir father, a famous composer (Klaus Maria Brandeur) who split themapart, possibly, or possibly not? What about their mother, who died ina car accident? What about the bond between Tetro and his formermentor, "Alone", the dubbed "most important critic in South America"who has created a pretentious empire around herself? Questions arise,and Coppola rises to the challenge of giving the audience answers butnot spoon-fed. It's first and foremost a story of family, of brotherswho love but have to find ways to contend with their damagedselves(inspiration being Rocco and His Brothers mayhap), and it's herethat it's just about classic, on par with Rumble Fish if not evendeeper and wiser about the effect of parents, or lack thereof, in livesspent and possibly wasted.

    The writing is immensely interesting, always, even when Coppola mayfall into over-indulging in his fantastic self-indulgence as an artist,such as with the operatic flourishes towards the end (this may not makesense, but compared to the WAY over indulgence of the hard-to-defendY.W.Y it will). If anything the little imperfections, those brushstrokes that go so high with the colors and shadows and impressionisticlighting that he and DP Mihai Malaimaire Jr engage in (one whohopefully will be getting more work following such spectacular work ona mix of 35mm and HD) along with Walter Murch's dependable editing,make it an even stronger work. It should feel a little messy here andthere, because its subject matter is about finding a sense of purpose,in each other and in one's art. One feels Coppola working through ahistory of close but torn family ties, of losing loved ones (i.e. hisown son), and at the same time a love of them all and of cinema peekingthrough in nearly every scene, even the ones where it doesn't look likemuch is going on.

    Tetro is the antidote, basically, for this month's Transformers sequel.If you need to find the polar opposite of a picture based practicallyon just making money and reeling in the crowds with its dumb giantrobot battles and preposterous and shallow theatrics, look no furtherthan a picture which cares about its characters, its multi-facetedstory and themes, and about projecting a technique that hearkens backto cinema of the 50s and 60s while sticking to an originality by itsfilmmaker. This will likely stay with me for a while, which is whatCoppola's most profound works have done.

  4. motif from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    As a lover of Coppola's Great films, I'll watch anything he does, nomatter how many misfires he produces. And I hate to admit it, but forme, Tetro was a complete misfire. I'm actually surprised at all thestrong reviews and I wonder if people saw the same movie as me.

    The film's Art House all the way. Black and white, staged like a play,BIG Greek and literary themes driving the story, to obvious deviceslike a cat named "Problema", a man in a cast until his brother arrives,symbolically driving the character arcs and story.

    Coppola obvious loves theater. The film is filmed with theater piecesthroughout the storyline and the movie itself feels like it belonged onstage.

    This is all good if it works, but it didn't. The film was redundant,the characters cliché's, the dialogue uninteresting….and the actingof the two male leads was completely undramatic. Nothing against anyonepersonally, but to me, Vincent Gallo is just not a good actor. He'spersonae. Coppola failed because he cast an actor who looks and feelsexactly like the self-indulgent "artist" that Coppola was trying tocharacterize in Tetro. The result was that there was nothing fresh inthis film, especially in the characters. (The lead actress was strong,and she overshadowed both the men on screen.) I think Coppola isrediscovering his craft, and it's starting with story telling. The filmis extremely ambitious as it tries to tackle the father and son dynamicfor the 1000th time in literary history. It's hard to forgive, or miss,sub-par and redundant writing in this genre and Coppola unfortunatelybrought nothing fresh to the literary table. What he did bring fresh,if anything, was art house to the American public, but unfortunatelythe film isn't strong enough to break into mainstream America. Not evenclose. The film attempts to be serious and viewers who see Coppola'sname over a black and white dramatic piece about fathers and sons willpretense a masterpiece…just because. But it's not a masterpiece byany stretch of the imagination.

    Imagine the best of American black and white films that were eitherderived from the stage or a homage to plays and classical dramaticwriting. Tetro could be A Streetcar Named Desire if it worked. But it'snot even close. Streetcar had acting, it had characters, it had freshdialogue, it had real drama. Nothing in Tetro could measure to thesestandards – not even the self-conscious cinematography. The main maleactors bring nothing to life in this film because they don't know howto and because the writing gets in the way. Anyone who thinks this filmis great, please go back and watch these movies and remember what greatcharacter driven dramatic cinema should be. Let's not reward onintention, but on execution.

    Coppola should have rewritten this script for another year before hefilmed it and recast it with serious actors (V Gallo doesn't even readscripts he receives, he just reads his parts). He would have achievedsomething much better than what he did here.

    Everyone bitches about the studio system, but, I hate to say it,Coppola was at his best when he worked with the talent the studiosystem affords and attracts.

    As a human being, good for him that he can make films on his own terms,all the power to him. But, go deeper next time Francis and perfect yourscript before you shoot it and find real actors to pull it off.

  5. ericberber9 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    I am not a film major. Hell I've never even been to college. Through myhorrible grammar and misspellings, you will take note of how I evenbarely got through high school.

    There are films out there that have puzzled me (anything by DavidLynch), films that have made me laugh (Dumb and Dumber was my favorite)and foreign films that I once considered to be the way films should bemade (Let the Right One In, Ichi the Killer). I've seen films that havebored me (Gummo, Brown Bunny) and have had my guiltypleasure(unfortunately, Transformers 2.

    But never, NEVER in my life have I seen a film that has engrossed melike this has. I have never walked out of a theatre in absolute awe.Never have I truly been able to say that a film made me laugh, made mecry, made me FEEL true emotions for a character. Such beautifulcinematography, such bold yet unobtrusive dialog… no one character"steals the show".

    I sat in that theatre for 143 minutes and not once was I bored. Notonce was I annoyed by a character, or a one-liner. Not once was my jawnot dropped.

    This film is what a film should be… what films were meant to be.There are movies out there for entertainment but every once in a while,there is a film that comes along that changes the way you feel aboutentering a theatre all together.

    I viewed this film with 10 other people in a small college theatre thatwill only play this film for one week. And the only reason I came towatch it was because my girlfriend absolutely adores Vincent Gallo(which he is amazing in) and no other reasons than that.

    I don't know what else I could say about this film that could praise itany more that I have. I love this film. It's the greatest movie I'veever seen. That may not seem like much to you since you all havepossibly seen similar movies in film class, or through word of mouth.But for the average joe such as myself, this film is a masterpiece.

    Bravo, Copolla. Bravo.

  6. amarcordforever from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    For Francis Ford Coppola, the last forty years have been an uphillbattle, not only with critics but also against an adoring public whohave held him to the highest of standards since such masterpieces as"The Godfather" and "The Godfather: Part 2", both having brought homeBest Picture Oscars and garnering best Director nods, the latterpresenting him with the win. Films like "One from the Heart" and "PeggySue Got Married" make even his most hardcore of fans wonder, "What thehell is going through this guys freakin' skull?" Can directors trulylose their finesse? Can these just be metaphorical ruts like we've seenfrom the recent string of M. Night Shyamalan disasterpieces? What's theexact percentage ratio of wine from Coppola Vineyards that he consumesto that of which he produces? I digress. Now two years after themediocre "Youth Without Youth", Coppola churns out "Tetro", a smalllittle self authored Indy film that may just be the one he needs toregain credibility in the eyes of his audiences. The question is…doeshe pull it off? Bennie (Played by fresh face Alden Ehrenreich) hastraveled to Buenos Aires to re-connect with his estranged brother(Vincent Gallo, Buffalo 66') who now goes by the name of "Tetro". Uponhis arrival, he is greeted by the gorgeous Miranda (Mirabel Verdu),Tetro's girlfriend, who graciously invites him to stay at their homeagainst Tetro's own reservations. It doesn't take long before Benniebegins to realize that his long lost brother is not the person he oncewas, but rather an on edge, manic and short tempered poet. "When I methim," says Miranda, "he said he was a writer. He held everything heever wrote against his chest." As the story unfolds absolutely nothingis what it appears to be and when Bennie gets his hands on one ofTetro's unfinished plays, he finds out that the true story of hisfamily holds secrets darker than he could have ever imagined.

    Simply put, "Tetro" is Francis Ford Coppola's reinvention back into"quality" cinema and a perfect example of the wonder that can beachieved when a Director is in control of practically all creativeaspects of his work. Don't be mistaken, if you're looking for theCoppola from the 70's, he's long gone. This new Coppola has beenreborn, emerging as someone quite different. Funded entirely throughrevenue from his private vineyard, he's created one of the moststylistically atmospheric black and white films that I've seen inrecent memory. One can't help but feel that there are heavy influencesby the great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini throughout, especiallythrough the incorporation of operatic high drama and scenes that feelall too autobiographic to be dismissed as pure coincidence. Inaddition, there is a subtle Noir accent which is credited to MihaiMalaimare's gorgeous cinematography. Coppola is now, a true Indy,non-conformist filmmaker and my gut tells me that he really doesn'tcare. Instead, he doesn't give it all away, but rather does anexceptional job of keeping the motives, feelings and details about hischaracters well hidden for the longest possible duration of time untilit is inevitable for such crucial facts to be revealed solely to aidthe plot.

    Mainstream audiences may just come to hate Tetro. It has an overall"artsy" coat to it that many of today's average moviegoers may not beable to get past. This includes extended, sporadically placed dancesequences from Powell and Pressburger's celluloid Opera "The Tales ofHoffmann" as well as original ballet numbers which are used to conveycharacter emotions and cleverly emphasis certain themes. That said,foreign film aficionados, especially those of such Directors asGiuseppe Tornatore or Michael Radford, will be delighted with Coppola'sknowledge of the Genre and passionate homage to those who have coinedit. Through the script, he is precise and very careful with what hechooses to include as well as place importance on. With many scenespurely dialogue driven, he is a master of building tension withouthaving to rely on the support of quick cutting, action or specialeffects to drive home his points.

    Actor Vincent Gallo, in one of his first non-self Directed/self writtenfilms, fits comfortably into the role of Tetro. His narcissism (which Ibelieve is in fact also grounded in his real life) brings life to thepart and he's believable straight up to the films shocking conclusion.There is a certain vulnerability and a hurt that Gallo also manages toconvey which is really what makes Tetro such an interesting characterto watch on screen. Newcomer Alden Ehrenreich has a look matched by thelikes of Leonardo DeCaprio, and certainly has the acting chops to pullit off. There is a definite star appeal about him that seems to emanatenaturally which will certainly cause him to gain more roles andcredibility as a performer in the future. Mirabel Verdu is absolutelystunning as Miranda and gives off a "Sophia Loren" type elegance, arole that rounds out the feeling that what we're experiencing is inpart truly a charming foreign film coming out of what was once amainstream filmmakers body.

    Tetro is a testament to the fact that an artist can pick himself upover the course of decades and learn from his failures as well as hissuccesses. Francis Ford Coppola's recent work is bold, daring andsymbolizes his true love for the medium. At its heart you can see thatthe characters, story and attention to even the most minor of detailsare shown so much love and care that they could only be executed by apassionate and dedicated creative mind. My only regret after seeingTetro is that more people will turn down the opportunity to open theireyes and experience it for themselves.

  7. maniototo from Spain
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    "Youth is Wasted on the Youth". At a point beyond the barrier of the40's , we all know that to be true, but the true unfairness of thisfact of life is that the opposite is often also true. I for one haven'treached that other age bracket yet, but after having watched "Tetro"-and with the unfortunate reminiscence of Antonioni's "Beyond TheClouds" or on a much lesser level, Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut"still fresh on my mind-, I'm starting to wonder if the weight of theyears and decades of very intense reflection doesn't have verynefarious consequences indeed on a talented person's ego. "Tetro" sinksunder so much self-importance, as if it couldn't bear the load ofwisdom that Coppola wants us to believe he has acquired over the years.Don't get me wrong, we all know Coppola will forever be theoutrageously brilliant director of some of the most purely cinematicexperiences since the birth of cinema; the problem is, it seems likeCoppola's artistic development has been stumped -the impression hegives is that of the snake charmer that has charmed himself. The veryinfantile notion of "genius" and the need to be recognized as such areat the heart of this very artificial, anachronistically romantic film.I could go on ranting about the incredibly superficial vision of BuenosAires, which drops us at Café Gran Tortoni, La Boca and Radio LaColifata as if on a sightseeing tour bus – I was surprised there was noscene of a couple dancing tango-.

  8. eneyeseekaywhy from Ireland
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    17 year-old Bennie works as a waiter on a cruiseship. When the shipsuffers engine difficulties and docks in Buenos Aires, he uses theopportunity to attempt to reconnect with his estranged brother Tetro, aonce promising writer. He is welcomed with open arms by Tetro'sgirlfriend, Miranda. She longs to know the truth behind her boyfriendspast and what made him the misanthrope he is today. Tetro is hostiletowards his brother, his plan was to never see any of his family again,and so keeps him at arms length. Bennie discovers an incomplete play,written in code whilst his brother was undergoing psychiatrictreatment. He decides to finish the play and enter it in a festival runby Argentina's most powerful critic, Alone. Faced with this upheaval,Tetro is forced to come to terms with his relationship to his youngerbrother and his father, a famous conductor.

    Tetro is, at its core, a film about family, in particular therelationship between brothers and their Father. A theme Francis FordCoppola has immersed himself in before, most notably in The Godfatherand Rumble Fish. Through a series of flashbacks we are given a glimpseof major events in Tetro's youth, his relationship with his father(played by Klaus Brandauer) and his subsequent departure. There arehuge family secrets known only to Tetro and revealed to Bennie in anending which echoes great literary and operatic works. Coppolas love ofopera and theater is stamped all over the script and the city of BuenosAires seems to be the perfect background in which to set this story.

    Shot stunningly in digital monochrome with colour flashbacks, it hassome aesthetic similarities to Rumble Fish. Coppola and cinematographerMihai Malaimare Jr. reportedly site On The Waterfront and La Notte asbig influences on the films visual style. There are certainly elementsof both here, with the film also retaining its visual sense of self. Itis operatic in both its narrative and its mise-en-scene. The idea ofcutting between colour and monochrome as well as changing aspect ratiossounds as if it would be jarring, and it typically is. But for thepurposes of Tetro it works perfectly.

    Seen as a controversial choice by some, Vincent Gallo brings an edge tothe titular character that some other actors may have lacked. Howeverit is newcomer Alden Ehrenreich who steals the show as Bennie, awayward teenager looking for guidance and approval. Maribel Verdu, asMiranda, provides the conduit between the two in a typicaly solidperformance.

    Hollywood is littered with once great directors who have fallen fromgrace, which makes Tetro all the more remarkable as a return to formfrom one of the greatest, Francis Ford Coppola.

  9. Lee Eisenberg (eisenberg.lee@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    After a career that has consisted of the "Godfather" movies,"Apocalypse Now", "The Outsiders", Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and "Youthwithout Youth" – to name just a few – where would Francis Ford Coppolago next? He directed "Tetro", about the secret history of anItalian-Argentinian family.

    Benjamin Tetrocini (Alden Ehrenreich) arrives in Buenos Aires and goesto visit his brother Angelo (Vincent Gallo). The embittered Angelo isnow going by the name Tetro. As the movie progresses, a series ofimportant topics about the family gets revealed, and how it has alwaysaffected the relationship between the two brothers.

    Coppola uses one of the most unusual devices to tell the story. Thepresent is filmed in stark black-and-white, while the past is shown ina slightly grainy color. It's as if the past was supposedly apparent -to show that the characters thought that they knew everything that wasgoing on – while the present is supposedly unclear (to show that thereare things to be discovered). I read that the movie pays homage to "TheTales of Hoffman", but I don't know that one, so I have to take themovie at face value. And what I saw certainly impressed me. Idefinitely recommend this movie.

    Also starring Maribel Verdú, Carmen Maura, Klaus Maria Brandauer, andRodrigo de la Serna (who co-starred in "The Motorcycle Diaries" and isa relative of Che Guevara).

  10. Kenny Evans from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 11:09 am

    I knew nothing about this film but went along to a private screening atCannes just last week.

    I wasn't sure whether the black and white was going to last much pastthe opening scenes, it did, and I feel it really helped this filmportray the contrast and the depression felt by the main characterTetro.

    The film slowly unravelled slowly, providing just enough snippets ofthe bigger underlying story obviously hidden away in the past of the 2brothers to keep you engaged. Played out against the backdrop of modernday Argentina (it wasn't obvious when the period was until we get aglimpse of a modern day car about 25 minutes in) We have Bennie theyoung brother, visiting his manic depressive prospect playwrightbrother and catching up on lost time together. However it's evidentfrom the start that the older brother, Tetro does not want to rekindleany family ties for reasons that unfold during the film.

    Bennie discovers the latent stories written by Tetro and attempts tofinish them in order for Tetro to be recognised for his brilliance,something Tetro himself seems unwilling to do.

    I love what Coppola has done here, I loved the character and the vibehe set, particularly the little village theatre where Tetro worked andwhere we see a gaudy and low budget production of Faust beingperformed. We revisit this theatre for Bennie/Tetro's first play whichdoesn't go well! The underlying story is all about the father of thebrothers, a top orchestral conductor who jumped on his far moretalented brothers back (Tetro's uncle)to become the most renownconductor in New York. What then follows is his megalomaniacal fathersdisregard of his son and subsequent stealing of his sweetheart. Coupledwith the fact that Tetro was then responsible for his mothers death ina car crash and his father never forgave him and you have the perfectrecipe for the depressive abyss that Tetro finds himself in at thestart of the film where we come in.

    We see some beautiful flashback sequences, in colour to provide thecontrast to Tetro's mood, of past events but done in a theatricalalmost ballet style. The ones toward the end of the film are nothingshort of exquisite and really hammer home the depth of feeling.

    The climax sees Bennie and Tetro finally rewarded by their peers at theregional arts festival for their joint work but also forced to face upto the ultimate family secret, one which I shan't give away here! Thesigns for a big twist are apparent but exactly what that is may benarrowed down but not apparent until it occurs in my opinion.

    The actor who plays young Bennie has DeCaprio overtones and does bear aphysical resemblance, Gallo as Tetro is menacing yet feeble behind hisfake facade. Tetro's wife provided a perfect go between for the maincharacters, not to mention turning in a brilliant performance! Jose thecafe owner provides comic relief and 'Alone', the theatre critic is thespectre of potential humiliation and failure that Tetro must overcomeand convince of his genius.

    I loved this film and only gave it a 7 for the predictable ending whichwas a bit over dramatic and clichéd for what was otherwise a well actedand nicely designed bit of cinema. The story is rich and the sceneryand sets are brilliant, particularly the Patagonian mountains.


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