Tag Archives: Anne Alvaro

Raoul Ruiz – La ville des pirates AKA City of Pirates (1983)

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Raúl Ruiz’s City of Pirates is (de)composed under the sign of Surrealism, with its trust in ecstasy, scandal, the call of the wild, mystification, prophetic dreams, humour, the uncanny. Given the surprising swerves and disorientations evoking Buñuel and Dalí, and the confidence in a poetic discourse recalling Eluard and Péret, one wonders if Ruiz didn’t elaborate his scenario using the Surrealist mode of automatic writing. Troubled, graceful Isidore – Ducasse and Duncan? – is a purely Surrealist heroine, part Ophelia, Salomé, Bérénice, prone to trances, somnambulism, hysterical seizure, contact with the ‘other side’. Her calm violence links her to the real life murderesses – Germaine Berton, the Papin sisters – exalted by Breton’s circle, and by Jacques Lacan. Indeed, Lacan’s notion of a psychoanalysis in which the analyst stays off his patient’s wavelength, inspired by the idea of ‘surrealist dialogue’ in which paired monologues at cross purposes strike sparks of meaning off each other, underpins the scatty trajectory of Ruiz’s own graphomania, snared this time as the tale of a Pirate’s City. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Danton [Extras] (1983)

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Best known for political films such as Ashes and Diamonds and A Generation, Polish director Andrzej Wajda travels to 18th-century Paris in Danton — but his politics remain firmly grounded in the 20th century. Much like his most recent film Katyn, which chronicled the murder of 15,000 Polish officers by the Soviets during World War II, Danton takes us to the morning after the French Revolution, when the monarchy has been toppled and the revolutionaries have no one left to fight but themselves. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Danton (1983)

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Gérard Depardieu and Wojciech Pszoniak star in Andrzej Wajda’s powerful, intimate depiction of the ideological clash between the earthy, man-of-the-people Georges Danton and icy Jacobin extremist Maximilien Robespierre, both key figures of the French Revolution. By drawing parallels to Polish “solidarity,” a movement that was being quashed by the government as the film went into production, Wajda drags history into the present. Meticulous and fiery, Danton has been hailed as one of the greatest films ever made about the Terror. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Régime sans pain (1985)

Jonathan Rosenbaum from Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons (2004), pp. 236-237:

Within my experience, Ruiz is the least neurotic of filmakers; he doesn’t even seem to care whether what he’s doing is good or not (and, as he’s aptly noted, bad work and good work generally entail the same amount of effort). No single film functions as the be-all or end-all of an evolving career but merely as part of an overall process. Example: the 1985 Régime sans pain — one of his films most influenced by his friend Jean Baudrillard, and perhaps the one that most calls to mind grade-Z SF — grew out of a commission to direct a music video. Ruiz offered a counterproposal that he direct several music videos rather than one; once this deal was made, he shot enough material to interconnect the various videos until he arrived at a feature. Read More »