Raúl Ruiz

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Subbuteo
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#26 Post by Subbuteo » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:03 pm

Zedz, I posted a message of contempt (quickly deleted) at my initial glance at you're last post ... mistakenly I read that you considered the Ruiz better than the source. :oops: Shocked and out of vino I checked again and discovered a blurred reading on my part. Indeed the film's enjoyment is greatly enhanced if ones read the source.

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orlik
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#27 Post by orlik » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:32 pm

I just want to check whether the Blaq Out set of 3 Ruiz films has English subs - the first post suggests it does. I know the 3 films are available from Facets, but I never buy from them unless I have to (which is sadly often the case).

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Der Müde Tod
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#28 Post by Der Müde Tod » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:30 pm

Yes, there are English subs. They are occasionally out of sync in the Suspended Vocation, but fine in The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting. I haven't watched the third one yet, but what I have seen was worth the money already. After sleeping over it: The subs in Suspended Vocation are in sync, but out of sync are sound and picture, which is somewhat irritating.
Last edited by Der Müde Tod on Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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zedz
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#29 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:17 pm

Subbuteo wrote:Zedz, I posted a message of contempt (quickly deleted) at my initial glance at you're last post ... mistakenly I read that you considered the Ruiz better than the source. :oops: Shocked and out of vino I checked again and discovered a blurred reading on my part. Indeed the film's enjoyment is greatly enhanced if ones read the source.
Don't worry, I missed your blurred blurt. I actually considered the misreading when I wrote the original, but couldn't be bothered clarifying it, so it's partly my fault.

I would have shared your contempt, anyway. I don't think any film could be better than this particular source. And I mean any film, not any adaptation. There, that should provoke some more blurts.

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#30 Post by Rich Malloy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:57 pm

Having seen some of the other very poor attempts at adapting Proust, it's astonishing that Ruiz got it so right in nearly every conceivable way.

But I'm not sure that familiarity with the source is merely an "enhancement"; I wonder to what degree it may be crucial? How would the film play for someone who'd never read "In Search of Lost Time"? Just how much of my enjoyment and appreciation of Ruiz' adapation really is dependent on that prior reading, such that I'm carrying into the film something akin to a complete psychological and sociological workup of each and every character?

But to the extent that familiarity may be requisite, this is certainly no criticism of Ruiz. After all, how could one possibly adapt this work in anything approaching a comprehensive way? Just think of the endless exposition and necessarily didactic elements if one were to attempt some sort of totalistic approach. And if Ruiz did intentionally set about to make a film intended primarily (if not entirely) for those who had already read the work, then I certainly think such would be an apt and defensible approach.

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zedz
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#31 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 08, 2007 4:15 pm

That's an interesting point, but I know a lot of people who have loved the movie without having read a page (or even a sentence - not necessarily a shorter unit!) of the novel. From sketchy discussions with them, I think they see it as a particularly imaginative and dense historical drama / literary adaptation. Even if they're not aware of all the references Ruiz has stashed away in the false compartments, they can sense that this set of luggage is uncommonly well-made. On the other hand, they also seem to consider it as simply a really, really good film. Almost everyone I know who considers it a genuine masterpiece considers it as such in terms of its relationship to the source novel, so I think there are definitely two distinct audiences for the film.

Actually, I think the number of people who have actually read the entire novel (and not just Swann's Way) is pretty small, and wouldn't be sufficient to account for the overwhelmingly positive reception of the film.

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#32 Post by Rich Malloy » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:01 pm

I'm glad to hear that the film's also compelling to someone unburdened, as it were, by the memory of the written work, but I'm a little surprised to hear that there's an "overwhelming" response of any kind to a Ruiz film! I mean, Ruiz may be well-known round here, but in my experience he's not particularly well-known even among the somewhat cinematically conscious. And certainly less of a household name than Marcel.

I know, I know. Familiarity with Proust's legacy is not the same as having actually read his works, in entirety. But in my experience there are many more people who've read Proust (Swann's thru Regained) than people who are even glancingly familiar with Ruiz. And I suspect that those drawn to Ruiz' film tend to be either hardcore cineastes who've followed his career for decades or Proust readers hoping against hope for a far better adaptation than, say, Schlondorff's mannered costume drama. I'm of the latter group, although since seeing "Time Regained", I've certainly also become a Ruiz fan. But not being able to see the film with virgin eyes has always made me wonder what I might think if I hadn't any familiarity with the original.

Which brings me around to a question that I think I posed in another "Ruiz on DVD" thread somewhere on this forum: has anyone ever seen this disc? It's been apparently OOP since I first became aware of Ruiz' film, and I haven't seen the disc reviewed anywhere. The amazon.fr listing purports an anamorphic transfer and English (and Portuguese) subtitles. There appear to be copies that have become available from amazon venders for EUR-29,99, and I wonder if anyone has hazarded a purchase? At any rate, I'd pay a premium for a top-notch transfer of this film, so any feedback anyone may have about it would be very much appreciated!

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#33 Post by sevenarts » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:34 pm

Rich Malloy wrote:But not being able to see the film with virgin eyes has always made me wonder what I might think if I hadn't any familiarity with the original.
Well, I'll probably be able to report back on that at some point, not having read any Proust yet (though I've long planned to), and right now I'm more than eager to have lots more Ruiz in front of my eyes. I'm curious how I'll react, since the consensus everytime this film is brought up is that you really need to be VERY familiar with Proust to get the most out of it.

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#34 Post by John Cope » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:42 pm

zedz wrote:That's an interesting point, but I know a lot of people who have loved the movie without having read a page (or even a sentence - not necessarily a shorter unit!) of the novel. From sketchy discussions with them, I think they see it as a particularly imaginative and dense historical drama / literary adaptation. Even if they're not aware of all the references Ruiz has stashed away in the false compartments, they can sense that this set of luggage is uncommonly well-made. On the other hand, they also seem to consider it as simply a really, really good film. Almost everyone I know who considers it a genuine masterpiece considers it as such in terms of its relationship to the source novel, so I think there are definitely two distinct audiences for the film.
I think you're probably right. I've never read Proust and that's exactly how I view the film--as really, really good but not necessarily a masterpiece.
Rich Malloy wrote:In my experience there are many more people who've read Proust (Swann's thru Regained) than people who are even glancingly familiar with Ruiz.
Wow. What circles you must run with, sir.

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#35 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:13 pm

Rich Malloy wrote:I'm glad to hear that the film's also compelling to someone unburdened, as it were, by the memory of the written work, but I'm a little surprised to hear that there's an "overwhelming" response of any kind to a Ruiz film! I mean, Ruiz may be well-known round here, but in my experience he's not particularly well-known even among the somewhat cinematically conscious. And certainly less of a household name than Marcel.
Indeed, but if there's any film of his which has an international profile, it's this one. I meant that the film was fairly extensively reviewed, and that the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

I have no particular evidence for it, but I suspect that Recherche is one of the least-read Great Books of all time. Even with the best of intentions, a lot of people never get past the first or second volume (but still like to let it be known that they've "read Proust").

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#36 Post by David Ehrenstein » Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:09 pm

I've read the entire book and it never ceases to astonish me how few people have. It's treasure-trove of everything about the 19th Century and human consciousness itself. Swann's Way is just a sitting-up exercise.

I used to know a Proust fanatic who worked at Brentano's bookstore in New York. Whenever anyone would buy a copy of Swann's Way he would INSIST that they purchase the entire book.

Ruiz, needless to say, understands Proust completely. The shot of Marcel in his chair flying across a room is in the book. One has only to read it.

Marcel Proust aka Marcello Mazzarella

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#37 Post by zedz » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:51 pm

David Ehrenstein wrote: I used to know a Proust fanatic who worked at Brentano's bookstore in New York. Whenever anyone would buy a copy of Swann's Way he would INSIST that they purchase the entire book.
He deserves a box of madeleines. Interesting timing, David. This weekend I heard a "review" of Recherche in a "great Books" slot on the radio and it was, in fact, a review of Swann's Way, with all sorts of unedifying comments (e.g. "not much happens", "a lot isn't resolved at the end") that were completely oblivious to the fact that they were only considering the first fraction of the novel. I daresay any review of a "great book" that only took in the first couple of chapters would find similar shortcomings. But that nevertheless counted as "doing In Search of Lost Time."

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#38 Post by Rich Malloy » Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:06 pm

It appears that the long OOP French DVD of Ruiz' "Time Regained" is available from several marketplace vendors at amazon.fr - sans DVD-Rom, unfortunately.

This would be the "Tout l'universe" edition here. It's expensive even without the extra disc, and I wonder if anyone knows anything about the actual transfer of the film? Is it done well? Is it anamorphically enhanced?

The description on amazon.fr states:
Format image :Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1
Pan and scan

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Cofralandes episodes are available in high resolution

#39 Post by depositio » Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:32 am

Image

Burn yourself some nearly new Ruizes!

The Cinemateca Virtual de Chile has made four segments of Ruiz's Cofralandes: Impresiones sobre Chile available for download. This project reasserts Ruiz's epic frenzy in a very direct, technical, even traditional sense--segment one, especially, rhapsodically exhausts the mores and morosities Ruiz has gleaned from Chile's urban and remote crossroads in high def video culminating in a stunning dance sequence. This part (a Chilean Rhapsody) is the one that is particularly worth checking out even if you don't understand any Spanish. The other episodes are more mundane talkie-documentaries but do hold many wonderful surprises--more bluntly evoked than Ruiz's better known arthouse features--at the level of sound and image design. In particular there are some wonderful sequences that incorporate beautiful storytelling songs--traditional Chilean and also thoroughly modern Art song--with other elements as Ruiz provides Quixotic/Ulyssean glances at what has disappeared in Chile since Pinochet.

These conversation pieces remind me especially of Joris Ivens whose thematic and stylistic congruence with Ruiz had never occurred to me before.... even when I recently got to see Une Histoire de Vent and rescreened the Ivens/Marker marvel A Valparaiso again not long after seeing a few more of Ruiz's 80s-90s feature films. Do any contributors here know if Ruiz's relocation to Paris had any Joris Ivens/Chris Marker connections? Colloque de Chiens is always compared with La Jetée but I've never read anything that develops any direct personal links between the ultimate Marxist of the Groucho School and the mysterious Grinning Cat.

According to this Sight and Sound interview, Ruiz had completed 6 of a planned 10 segments (by the Jan 2006 issue pub date). Ruiz states here that he devised these videos as conversation starters for community centers rather than for tv or theatrical presentation. An earlier (2004) notice on the web zine Rouge refers to a 2002 broadcast of 7 seven episodes on Chilean national television. In an interview presented in the past few months before students at Aberdeen where Ruiz has been appointed as a Professor in a European Culture program (my link to the stream appears to be defunct), Ruiz mentioned offhandedly a much larger number of Chilean video projects and also made a charmingly ambivalent reference to the gathering swarm of Nollywood competitors producing movies that are not and literally cannot be produced to be seen at all... ...video has represented a major leap forward in the disappearance of perception itself as a human standpoint for the communication of aesthetic and economic value? Making movies as a way to disappear and so provide an aura of "salvation" to that which has not yet, in crude materiality, disappeared altogether?

Image

So here are links to pages where low resolution streams may be found. EDIT: To my dismay, the roughly 3gig "high resolution" mpgs offered are not of particularly high quality at all. They are of identical quality to the dsl speed streams with institutional logos burned in (over partial French language subs on Part I) and apparent aspect ratio meddling. So I've removed the direct to ftp download links. But Part I, as I've already written, is especially worth grabbing or looking at if you can cope with laptop screenings!

Cofralandes I - Hoy en Día (Rapsodia chilena)
Cofralandes II - Rostros y Rincones
Cofralandes III - Museos y clubes de la región Antártica
Cofralandes IV - Evocaciones y Valses

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Raoul Ruiz: "Colloque de chiens"

#40 Post by MyNameCriterionForum » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:08 am

One of my favorite short films, first seen on the US VHS of Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting but sadly left off the recent DVD of that film... cannot seem to find a copy anywhere on disc or online (it is "on" google video, but as far as I can tell, there's no image (!) and the voiceover is not translated or subbed, so that does me no good).

Help?

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#41 Post by life_boy » Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:14 am

I would love to know from someone who has seen all or a reasonable majority of Ruiz's large and varied (and in many ways inpenetrable....and invisible) filmography what the masterworks are? Another question I would be interested to hear discussed: what is it about Ruiz that has kept him out of the canon of great world auteurs? Perhaps not having a single identifiable masterpiece, or a major critical champion (ala Rosenbaum with Kiarostami and Burnett)? Is it visibilty or lacking links to a national cinema or cinematic movement? (Or are these last points even incorrect assumptions?)

As far as my own Ruiz experience: I have only seen Hypothisis and On Top of the Whale and had a very difficult time with both of them. Thanks to the mentions from zedz during the 80's list, City of Pirates and Treasure Island are highly sought after and anticipated future viewings of mine, but the opportunities to see some of Ruiz's films appear to be so scattered. Some of these films have found their way to VHS in years past (that's how I saw Whale), but Ruiz seems like an artist whose work must be properly and carefully handled, especially in terms of color, in order to be fully appreciated. This only makes matters more difficult.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#42 Post by Murdoch » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:25 pm

life_boy wrote:Another question I would be interested to hear discussed: what is it about Ruiz that has kept him out of the canon of great world auteurs? Perhaps not having a single identifiable masterpiece, or a major critical champion (ala Rosenbaum with Kiarostami and Burnett)? Is it visibilty or lacking links to a national cinema or cinematic movement? (Or are these last points even incorrect assumptions?)
I am by no means an expert on Ruiz having only seen several of his films, but based on what I've seen I consider him to be one of the very few directors working today who knows how to shoot a film. The large unavailability of his work is a major deterrent to gathering an audience, but I also think people mistake him for a kind of Bunuel part deux - both surrealist filmmakers who emigrated from Latin America to France - but that seems far too dismissive and I'd hate to think that was the reason for the neglect. This is a question I've been struggling to wrap my head around, he has such an extensive body of work and I don't understand why he is so obscure to most. Even his lack of availability on home video is true for many other filmmakers.

I don't know of Ruiz's ties to any cinematic movements, but from what I've read he does have strong links to Chilean cinema where I think his films were the most overtly political - largely due to the Pinochet authoritarian years that I believe caused him to leave the country.

I'm looking forward to what zedz has to say since it was his recommendation in the 80s List Project thread that brought Ruiz to my knowledge, and he probably has a lot more to say on the subject.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#43 Post by zedz » Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:23 pm

I dunno, I just work here.

I don't know if anybody really has a grasp on Ruiz, as he's so insanely prolific, and I think that's part of the problem with his reputation. The films are legion, and largely elusive, so there's been precious little opportunity for any consensus to arise over which ones are the great ones. He's also interestingly inconsistent, not necessarily in objectively qualitative terms, but in terms of subjective appreciation. There are some of his films I didn't really warm to, but they're often very popular with other viewers, and vice versa, so even if you've seen the same films you might not have much common ground.

Another issue I've struck is that some very good viewers are repelled by Ruiz's erudition: they find the films academic, overly dense and referential, and far too concerned with esoteric in-jokes. For my part, I see the webs of references in his films (which are all over the place: obscure religious dogma; gothic novels; seafaring lore; Hitchcock thrillers; art history; historical and contemporary conspiracy theories; or close readings of specific novels - Treasure Island, Dracula, In Search of Lost Time) less as the heart of nthe matter and much more as playful pretexts for generating that uncanny hall-of-mirrors quality, that narrative vertigo that makes his best films so unique and enjoyable. The films are not about Ruiz's esoterica du jour (or about showing off the range of his learning), but about how any area of intense focus and interest can create its own reality which is then able to turn back in upon itself - and what happens to the people involved when this happens.

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#44 Post by Matt » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:40 pm

Can anyone comment on the new Second Sight release of Time Regained? From the DVD Times review, it seems be a vast improvement over previously available editions.

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#45 Post by tojoed » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:03 pm


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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#46 Post by Murdoch » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:06 pm

Huzzah! That reminds me that I should update the Ruiz forum page...

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#47 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:59 am

I recently decided to watch my first film by Raul Ruiz - instead of finally watching the copy of Time Regained that I've had in my 'to watch' pile for ages I did a last minute swerve into watching the French disc of Genealogies of a Crime that a forum member kindly sold to me recently.

It was quite an experience, difficult to get a handle on with the first viewing but eventually it felt quite fascinating as it takes a murder mystery thriller genre and makes the identities of all the characters very fluid within it. This is perhaps the most obvious genre to do this with, since thrillers exist on twists and shocking revelations, as well as issues of guilt (real, imagined and displaced) and violence (ditto). Thinking of the conversation with Mr Sausage a while ago about the Argento films and Tenebrae in particular, Genealogies of a Crime seems to feature a character who is conditioned to become a killer from childhood, as if the other characters want to vicariously live through him and give him as many opportunities to kill as possible, even to the extent of staging a murder scene and leaving both potential murderer and victim with time alone to fully savour their roles - does Rene take the opportunity that is offered on a plate for him to murder, or is it the work of the bizarre cult that his aunt is involved with? A lot of this cult's actions (personified in the slick character Georges played by Michel Piccoli) is couched in terms of somehow 'treating' the young man but his psychological state is left rather vague as all the other characters seem to project their own ideas onto him.

Most particularly Catherine Deneuve as Solange who relates the story in flashback and even takes the main role in a lengthy flashback sequence in the first section of the film (worlds within worlds) as she imagines herself into the role of Rene's murdered aunt Jeanne while reading her diaries (where she is dressed throughout in Yves Sant Laurent clothes - both showing the more privileged position of Jeanne as well maybe as the way that real people wearing such high class clothing is perhaps only 'believable' in fantasy terms).

Like Rene himself who has a very crucial part of his alibi or back story purposefully left out, Jeanne's diaries run out months before the crime takes place giving the maximum amount of tantalising detail to mull over but little concrete evidence of what actually occurred. Solange is also difficult to get a handle on - is she reaching out to Rene after the death of her own son in an accident which occurs at the beginning of the film simultaneously with being called in to work on Rene's defence? (The only betrayal of this deeper connection before the final scenes is in the framing section when she confuses the name of her son with that of Rene) And is this connection she makes a reason for why everyone around her begins to die, from her mother and partner in her law firm to the entire cult led by Georges committing suicide? Or are they just bizarre coincidences, causing the world around Solange to be whittled down and her mental state to become more fragile, causing her relationship with Rene to take on much more significance than it may otherwise have done?

The film feels very Hitchcock influenced, sort of a combination of many themes from different films. The focus on recreating an idealised character to the detriment of a real relationship feels related to Vertigo; the psychoanalytic and destructive mindgames feel like they contain elements of Spellbound and Marnie; the murdered Jeanne being the influence from beyond the grave on a newcomer to the family has traces of Rebecca; and a big influence seems to be Psycho although rather than the son taking on characteristics of the mother from that film, the situation seems reversed so that Solange becomes too influenced by her relationships with and projections onto Rene.

I still feel though that I have barely scratched the surface of the film (there are interesting Bunuel allusions in there too in the conflicts between public and private roles and the swapping of them between characters, as well as the black comedy of turning a murder site into a visitor attraction/shrine, and a victim into a martyr for specially selected bussed in tourists), and it is one that I'm looking forward to coming back to in the future to see what new things hit me from another viewing.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#48 Post by zedz » Fri May 07, 2010 4:23 pm

I checked out the new DVD of Ruiz's early feature Dialogues of the Exiled and I'm sorry to report it's a dog. It's got the worst judder on movement that I've ever seen - looks like a really bad PAL to NTSC job. Several shots are just talking head dialogues, but as soon as anybody nods or lifts their arm (and if the camera or characters should move, watch out!), Judderama. At one point it got so bad that the entire image momentarily turned into thick bands of garbled information.

I couldn't watch more than fifteen minutes at a time, and I have an abnormally high tolerance of substandard (or just plain shit) transfers. Could be a faulty disc, but it looked like conversion issues to me, so buyer beware.

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#49 Post by Stefan Andersson » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:41 am

New Wave Films has UK rights to Mysteries of Lisbon (272 mins). I inquired if they could release the 6 hr. TV version and promptly got this reply:

"Yes – we will release it on DVD next year some time, and providing the material is adequate, it will be the 6 hour TV version (which we haven’t seen either, just the 4 ½ hour cinema version).
Best regards
Robert Beeson"

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#50 Post by J Adams » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:31 pm

fnac.pt lists a DVD box (not available for purchase) of the following. Not sure if this is old and OOP or possibly forthcoming. The Territory is one of his best films and, if I recall correctly, largely in English.

■O Território (The Territory, 1981, 104 min)
■A Vila dos Piratas (La Ville des Pirates, 1983, 111 min)
■Fado Maior e Menor (Fado Majeur et Mineur, 1994, 110 min)
■Ponto de Fuga (Point de fuite, 1984, 75 min)

"Mysteries of Lisbon" was one of the heightpoints of a crappy NYFF. It will look fine on DVD. Looked a bit flat digitally projected. The TV version has a few storylines cut from the "film" version. It would make no sense to release the film version on DVD.

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