Raoul Ruiz

Raoul Ruiz – Cofralandes, tercera parte: Museos y clubes en la región antártica (2002)

For more than twenty years the films of Ruiz have led us into the fields of uninhibited delirium, free associations, and intricate games of collage. Ruiz, paying no heed to conventions, leads his audience into a labyrinth without a map, without warning and without an Ariadne allowed to help them retrace their steps. “Regulars only” seems to be the imperative which thrusts us into his creative world. However, it is a playful attitude that he proposes. Labyrinth, yes, but devouring monster, no — except the one we assemble ourselves from the fragments of mirrors that Ruiz has left scattered on the road. These fragments, their selection and random order, is indeed the art of Ruiz. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Cofralandes, rapsodia chilena: Hoy en día AKA Chilean Rhapsody (2002)

Ruiz is no lover of documentary. But the opportunity to make an essay-film offering his ‘observations of Chile’ produced in him a mammoth work, recently shown in seven parts on Chilean television. Shooting with a digital camera, Ruiz refinds the mobility and mercuriality of his early Chilean work. But he is also able to explore anew the transmutation of reality into fiction: Chile becomes the imaginary country of Cofralandes, ‘a popular version of paradise, a folkloric paradise. In the beginning there is a song about a place where poor people can live without poverty, and they can eat everything – even the houses. The rivers are made of wine.’ Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – The Territory (1981)

A small group of well-to-do vacationers go on a hiking trip into the woods. Foolishly unprepared to deal with Mother Nature and their situation, they wander around lost for days and weeks, becoming more and more fatigued, hungry, and desperate. A brief encounter with a pair of epicureans on a bridge fails to garner them any of the gluttons’ feast due to a language barrier. Eventually their party begins to die, and the survivors ration their meat among them, attaching a religious-type ritual to its dispensation. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Het dak van de Walvis AKA On Top of the Whale (1982)

This film is one of Ruiz’s greatest. Once, I read, with his film Ruiz pay tribute to Jean Luc Godard’s Le Mepris. So then, I asked Ruiz (Santiago, 2005)… You were influenced by this Godard’s film… ? – which film ? – … This film Le Mepris with Jack Palance and… your film features same kind of music (Georges Delerue’s music is an actor in Le Mepris, and as far as I can feel Jorge Arriagada composed great music for Ruiz’s film, but does not top Delerue’s), (…) close atmosphere, and two languages… – more than two languages ! – (answered Ruiz). Yes, you are right (…), and then Ruiz goes : “Probably I took it from there”. So, as far as art form and influence is concerned we are aware where inspiration is coming from. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Palomita blanca AKA Little White Dove (1973)

A relic of the Popular Unity period where we find a teacher talking to himself about the horror of the education system; the hard heartedness of the far right; the frivolity of the left; and a legion of the downtrodden. It is a film about verbal violence; life as a soap opera; and such dreams as mediocre movies are made on. Indecipherable to the world, but a Rosetta Stone for Chilean hieroglyphs. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Shattered Image (1998)

Written adroitly by Duane Pool, “Shattered Image” has one of those stories about which it is all but impossible to say anything with any degree of certainty. It does seem clear that Parillaud’s Jessie and Baldwin’s Brian are an exceptionally attractive Seattle couple honeymooning at a posh Jamaican resort and that Jessie is deeply disturbed. She apparently has endured a rape and its trauma has been compounded by the death of her wealthy father. She has vivid dreams in which she sees herself as an ultra-cool hired assassin–and her latest assignment is to knock off none other than Brian or a man who is his twin. As for Brian, is he the solicitous husband he seems to be? Or is it the cold-blooded assassin who is real, and Jessie but a figment of her dreams? Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – L’Île aux merveilles de Manoël AKA Manuel on the Island of Wonders (1984)

This three part French TV serial for children (alternate versions exist as a feature, Manoel’s Destinies, and a 4 part Portuguese TV serial, Adventure in Madeira) is the favourite of many devotees of Raúl Ruiz. This is because it ties the enchantment and mystery of Lewis Carroll, Carlo Collodi and the Brothers Grimm to the filmmaker’s experiments with narrative strategies and what he calls the pentaludic model of storytelling (where characters are thrown dice-like into combinations and situations governed by the play of Chance and Destiny). Read More »