Raoul Ruiz – The Golden Boat (1990)

“The Golden Boat, the first American production from internationally acclaimed director Raoul Ruiz, is a dry-humored, surreal tale set in downtown Manhattan. Young writer Israel Williams (Federico Muchnik) encounters a wounded man on the street. Though he has been stabbed several times over, the man seems unaffected by his wounds and refuses to go to a doctor. Instead, he asks Israel to help find his estranged son. Israel reluctantly agrees but is met with disbelief and suspicion from the supposed son, a South American television star. Things become dangerously complicated when the old man proves to be a murderer with shady criminal and political connections. Israel soon becomes lost in a strange world of international celebrities, Marxist operatives, and postmodern literary critics. The film deconstructs traditional techniques, relying instead on unconventional cinematography, jarring sound design, and eccentric patterns of recurring imagery, including several pairs of boots that reappear in odd places throughout the film. Ruiz made The Golden Boat on a shoestring budget, working in collaboration with The Kitchen, an avant-garde theatre group. Several notable members of the New York art scene make cameos, including director Jim Jarmusch and writer Kathy Acker.” — Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

“The Golden Boat is Ruiz’ first film made in America. In it, Ruiz, with the help of actors from the Wooster Group, Squat Theatre founder Stephan Balint and cameos by directors Jim Jarmusch and Barbet Schroeder, writer Kathy Acker and artist Vito Acconci, turns a bemused eye toward the interactions of New Yorkers. A young student, Muchnik, follows a path of empty shoes and discovers a sad old man, Kirby, who tells him “This is not my place,” before he stabs himself. The student first tries to find help then lifts the old man’s wallet, initiating, to his dismay, a complicated relationship with the old man. For far from dying, the old man cheerfully follows the student and stabs everyone the student comes into contact with. Violence escalates as other killers join the parade. It’s as if Ruiz, the observer, is actually from another planet and interprets acts of violence between New Yorkers as cordial greetings. According to James Schamus, The Golden Boat’s producer and head of film development for the Wooster Group, in the August/September 1990 issue of The Independent: “Violence is not so much hatred, but it is understood by the characters as one of the only ways to communicate with each other. This is the way Americans express themselves through the media.” Ruiz also delights in America’s cultural stew. The voluptuous performance artist Annie Sprinkle plays a waitress delivering a sushi dog and wonton enchilada, Mexican soap opera characters leave the TV to join the action (which has a decidedly film noir flavor), and everyone is from somewhere else. Like the killer, Ruiz might say, “this is not my place,” but the artist as observer is at home in alien territory. Visually satisfying and full of wry humor, The Golden Boat is not an easy film, but it is fun.” – Kathleen Maher, Austin Chronicle

700MB | 1h 25mn | 512×384 | avi



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