(1981, Mex, 89 min) Dir Alfonso Salles. Cast Hector Mendez, Sally del Toro, Eva.
I don’t know whether it’s the ubiquitous soundtrack or the fact that all anyone really remembers of the film is its dance floor scenes but people tend to forget how depressing Saturday Night Fever really is. This isn’t really a problem with Alfonso Salles’ unofficial remake Disco Man which ups the fantasy atmosphere of the nightclub scenes and really digs in with the squalor of the rest of the movie with graphic shotgun assisted suicide and not one but two dogs getting kicked to death particular highlights. Much like the original this isn’t a film about the transformative or restorative powers of dance and escapism and all of that but it makes more of the idea that the leads turning away from reality for the discotheque fantasy of the weekends is in some way a denial of that reality and that at some point it’s going to come back to bite you. Don’t mess with reality, basically. Star Mendez, who displays more grace and swagger than Travolta himself (and has a huge moustache too), also directed the film’s sequel, Disco Man 2, which was of course in turn an unofficial remake of Stayin’ Alive.