Raúl Ruiz

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zedz
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Re: Raul Ruiz

#76 Post by zedz » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:49 pm

Cracked open the second Portuguese Ruiz box with Three Lives and Only One Death, which is a good, reasonably straight (for Ruiz) film, with its layered realities being resolved more at the level of plot than that of metaphysics or theory this time around.

But the real (re)discovery was Dog's Dialogue, which I'd seen many many years ago but had almost entirely forgotten. It's a masterpiece, a dark, looping narrative that takes Marker's still-photo conceit and does all sorts of original and disturbing things with it. In twenty minutes there's more going on here than in many careers. There are feints at Marker, Fassbinder, Akerman and Kluge, but it adds up to something powerful and original and anticipates the dozens of unstable, bi- or tri-furcated, narratives to come.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#77 Post by zedz » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:12 pm

Picked up Ruiz's recent A Closed Book for a few quid in the ongoing Amazon fire sale.

It's a rather conventional work-for-hire job, a straightforward twisty thriller, but Ruiz acquits himself well, drumming up some efficient performances and keeping things ticking over nicely, particularly in the second act (yep, this is one of those films that follows the structural 'rules' slavishly), which is all about disorientation - certainly a Ruiz speciality, though generally one directed at the audience rather than a character.

The breathless revelations at the end seem at first quite ridiculous - and it does seem like Ruiz is being deliberately flippant here - but the following turn of events, surprisingly, puts a little meat on the bones of the situation, or provides a figleaf of thoughtfulness to the naked plot manipulation. The last shot would have been twice as effective with the last couple of seconds trimmed, but I guess we need to consider the slower members of the audience at all times.

Anyway, worth a look, particularly as it's about 75% off right now if you're not paying VAT.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#78 Post by knives » Sat May 14, 2011 5:08 pm

After hearing about this mysterious Chilean for a long time I've finally creaked open the coffin with That Day. I have no clue how it stands in his filmography or anything auteurist like that, but no matter what it represents I'm immediately in love with any film that can toss lines around like, (paraphrased) "You shouldn't be killing people. I think they find that impolite," deserves some sort of respect. The film is amazing on the visual level especially in the camera melting scene that starts off the second half, but I'm mostly enamored with the script and the performances that make it even better.

The lead actress is just perfect in the way she can simultaneously reach an emotional and comedic high. Here screaming alone probably caused enough damage so that I'll need stitches for my jaw. There's this delightful innocence in her eyes that makes her a baby and so forcibly makes the tension real and effective.

That's another thing, this film which at easiest description is a romantic thriller as farce manages to hit straight faced all of the audience based bits those genres provide perfectly and without stepping on the toe of the other genres. It's like oil in water how these elements are able to be totally disconnected from each other yet mix more effectively than in their usual separation.

Really this is just a fun movie to watch and examine and yammer on about even if it's to a brick wall. Everything it provides is just too entertaining and ridiculous to treat seriously yet it carries with it in the most bizarre fashion serious weight. It's very abstract what this film seems to do outside of being a blast. It's clearly not about insanity and while politics are brought up in this Orwellian tomorrow that doesn't seem to be it either. I might bother with those academic pursuits later, but for now I'm content to just experience the humour.

I'd love to know where to go to next.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#79 Post by Murdoch » Sat May 14, 2011 10:47 pm

I'd say that Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting would be a good next step, it's radically different from That Day but it serves as a good introduction to the visual and narrative layering that is central to Ruiz. After that just see what you can, there's only a small percentage of his oeuvre available, if you're familiar with Proust Time Regained is another logical choice, and even if you aren't it is still worth checking out.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#80 Post by knives » Sat May 14, 2011 11:36 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I can't make heads nor tails of the on DVD thread so could you point to what $50 would get me, please?

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#81 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 14, 2011 11:47 pm

There's a double feature disc with Hypothesis and the Suspended Vocation that would be a cheap investment

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#82 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 14, 2011 11:49 pm

Plus, this happens in Hypothesis:

Image

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#83 Post by Murdoch » Sat May 14, 2011 11:58 pm

The Blaq Out Facets box runs around that and has Hypothesis and the magnificent Three Crowns of the Sailor, also The Suspended Vocation which I have yet to see. The transfers are perfectly watchable as well.

The Raridades set also runs just above $50 on Amazon marketplace and is sold directly by the producer, it contains more films and all of them rank among the best available of Ruiz's work. Either set is a good investment, although I'd suggest the Facets box for now as it's cheaper and still a good collection for a newcomer as I feel it's better to be familiar with Ruiz before delving into the Raridades set - as much as that's possible given the limitations anyway.
Last edited by Murdoch on Mon May 23, 2011 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#84 Post by knives » Sun May 15, 2011 12:09 am

Thank you both. Just to double check this is the two sets you are referring to, correct? If so I'll definitely be getting the former.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#85 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 15, 2011 12:11 am

The Blaq Out set is out in America via Facets, but fear not, it's a direct port ala the Moullet set

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#86 Post by Murdoch » Sun May 15, 2011 12:16 am

Yeah, definitely get the Facets region 1 instead of importing, and yes that is the Raridades set you linked.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#87 Post by knives » Sun May 15, 2011 12:17 am

That helps even more, saves nineteen dollars on DVDEmpire. I just love discovering these new gaps in my education. There's nothing better than the sense of completing them.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#88 Post by zedz » Sun May 15, 2011 3:34 pm

Agreed with those above recommendations. Basically the three European Ruiz sets (Blaq Out, ported to Facets; Raridades and the other Portugese one, also available on US Amazon marketplace) will get you almost everything that's ever been available on DVD. Only a small percentage of his oeuvre, but a very good selection.

He's had such a variegated career there are plenty of misses among the hits (the airless Klimt is probably the most readily available), but I've yet to see a Ruiz film that wasn't interesting in some respect, and a number of them are among the most radically inventive narrative films ever made.

To start, either the Blaq Out or Raridades set should give you a good sense of the man's range and preoccupations.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#89 Post by Murdoch » Mon May 23, 2011 12:02 am

Watched Combat d'amour en songe tonight, and while it will take me multiple viewings to flesh out the ins and outs of the film, allow me to gush over what is my favorite Ruiz yet. The film begins as a sort of behind the scenes documentary on the film's production during which we are presented with the premises of nine different stories that are intertwined throughout the film, where several characters act as constants. It's filled with Ruiz's unique wit (which I think is why I enjoyed it so much): a theology student poses as a priest in the confession booth, during which a nun recalls her sexual dream to him and he probes her to recount the different sexual acts she performed; another tale involves a sea captain and several boats named Socrates, the latter of which keep sinking, and the former keeps being miraculously saved from drowning! The stories collide as one folds into another, characters from one story bear witness to events from another, actors play multiple roles that are often indistinguishable from one another - so basically a standard Ruiz film. But what separates this for me from his other films (that I've seen, which is admittedly few) is how Ruiz creates a narrative structure in which there seems to be no beginning nor conclusion, but an endless revolution of stories - the film's motif of the treasure map best captures this as multiple characters gain possession of the map but no treasure of hidden gold or jewels is ever found, instead they are only led to a chest filled with more maps! The film boasts Ruiz's usual command over mise-en-scene, and it has the always enchanting Elsa Zylberstein, who has perhaps the most hypnotic eyes ever put on film, who I hoped to see again in a Ruiz film after her delightful performance in That Day. Overall a stunning film, and one I look forward to dissecting in future viewings.

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#90 Post by ola t » Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:42 am

La Maison Nucingen is out on DVD from Blaq Out, with English subtitles. Haven't got my copy yet... (Amazon link)

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#91 Post by zedz » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:06 pm

Fantastic news! I think this is one of Ruiz's stronger films of the noughties (of those I've managed to see), harking back to his fast-and-loose play with the tropes of specific literary genres in the 80s. This time around it's the gothic novel.

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#92 Post by Murdoch » Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:29 pm

Any new Ruiz is worth it for me, sounds great.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#93 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:27 pm

Just a heads up that Mysteries of Lisbon is now available in Portugal, in multiple versions, all (apparently) with English subs. There's a regular DVD of the film version, and a BluRay of the same, plus a 5 disc box set with both film and (longer) TV versions more than 9 hours total), plus deleted scenes, interviews, etc. Box set link.

Nucingen Haus is also out in France, but although blaq out have a decent track record for including English subs on their releases, amazon doesn't list any for this release (and it's too recent to reckon on blaq out's own website, apparently). Can anybody confirm or deny?

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Re: Raoul Ruiz on DVD

#94 Post by Finch » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:57 pm

Raul Ruiz' Mysteries of Lisbon available now in Portugese stores

theatrical version on Blu-Ray & DVD
boxset with feature & original 6 hour TV series but all DVD only
TV series, DVD only

I ordered the Blu at fnac portugal since that worked out slightly cheaper (by 2 Euros).

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#95 Post by zedz » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:56 pm

Mysteries of Lisbon box set:

A great package. Six discs (two for the theatrical version; three for the television; one for extras) in a fold-out pack.

I've watched the television version of the film, which is magnificent and not just a longer version of the theatrical. There's at least one major scene in the theatrical version that was not in the television serial
SpoilerShow
(when Pedro breaks into Father Dinis' secret chamber),
and almost the entirety of the fourth episode of the television version is excised (they also drop a substantial flashback in episode three which connects with this). This gives a very different skew to the overall narrative, since its omission effectively downgrades one major character (Antonia) to third-tier support. This makes the theatrical version much more strongly male-oriented. Although the film is full of strong, vivid female characters, the three focal characters for the narrative - Pedro da Silva, Father Dinis and Alberto de Magalhaes - are all male. This is not the case with the television version.

It's a smart cut to make, nevertheless, since it has only minimal impact on the other narrative strands. The only hiccup I could spot, which I didn't even notice when watching the theatrical version, was the failure to account for how Angela de Lima knows who Sebastiao de Melo is (there, that shouldn't be too much of a spoiler). There's a bit of collateral damage from the cut, however, in that one major character ends up with one less alternative identity / role as a consequence, and there's a very satisfying visual rhyme in a far-removed sequence that's orphaned.

So basically, it's not an either / or proposition. If you like the film, you really need to see both versions to get the whole picture.

Technically, it's a superb transfer, though like me you may wish to get the Blu of the theatrical version for the full splendour. I was astonished to discover that it was cinematographer Andre Szankowski's first feature, since it's one of the best-lit films I've seen in ages - lots of painterly references - and the film is full of technically daunting bravura plans-sequences.

The extras are extensive - about three hours worth - and surprisingly strong, considering they follow the standard EPK divisions on the surface. The 'making of' is dispensible, as its one of those montages of on-set footage without any explanation or context, and the cast interviews are very brief snippets, albeit more perceptive than the norm. The contemporary TV coverage is surprisingly strong, including extracts from a Portugese talk show that pairs a literary academic with one of the film's stars and somehow does well with both of them, and a bizarre French round-table film review programme that's staged like a game show.

Best of all is the Ruiz material, which is copious: two extended radio interviews and one filmed one, with very little overlap between them. Ruiz reliably offered unexpected perspectives on his filmic practice, and he's still firing on all cylinders here, despite his illness. And it's always a delight to see a venerable old master showing a keen appreciation of younger directors (in this case, a shout out to Sharunas Bartas). Some tidbits: Mysteries of Lisbon was not his final completed film; he had subsequently completed a mid-length film (50 minutes) about Jean Painleve (too late for the Criterion box, alas, so who knows when we'll get a chance to see this). And Ruiz's next big project was to be a follow-up to Mysteries of Lisbon, adapting a related Camilo Castelo Branco novel, Father Dinis' Black Book, set during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#96 Post by John Edmond » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:27 pm

Kiss.

I was waiting for a good comparison between the two versions. I was curious as to whether the TV series actually had any additional material, or whether once you got rid of generous credits, some joining material and last week rehash guff, there was no new material.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#97 Post by zedz » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:31 am

Yes indeed. Each episode runs about 54 minutes or so (so the six don't actually add up to the 360 minutes suggested on the packaging) and the opening credits are as long on each episode as the theatrical credits, so there would be just under 50 minutes of actual film per episode (oh, and the final episode has a couple of brief repeated scenes at the start, since it's really a direct continuation of the action of episode five, whereas the other episodes are more discrete) - but all in all there's probably about an hour of unique material in the television version. And there's also some unique material in the theatrical version.

Oh, and as far as I could tell, the remaining material is all as in the theatrical version - no apparent extended versions of shots or scenes (which would have been very difficult to pull off with all those plans sequences)

The television series is only available in the box set - unless it's slipped out in some other territory on its own.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#98 Post by knives » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:38 am

Didn't Ruiz prefer the theatrical cut? Also the movie is still making the rounds stateside so if we get unusually lucky that release might duplicate.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#99 Post by zedz » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:52 am

I'd heard that too (but in the context of distributors who were only handling the theatrical cut, so you need to take that into account), but it's not as if this were a case of the producers forcing an extended television cut on Ruiz that he was opposed to, or reinserting material he wanted removed behind his back. In this case we have two, interestingly distinct director's cuts, and the television version incorporates a large amount of unique material that's absolutely on a par with the rest of the film and forms its own unique entity within the larger work. He obviously worked very hard on that material at a time of considerable personal difficulty, so I'd say it was pretty important to him regardless of any version preference he may or may not have indicated.

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Re: Raul Ruiz

#100 Post by knives » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:58 am

Thanks on the clarification. I won't get upset if the US DVD doesn't have the teevee cut, though by your sound of it it seems worth it (and more economical for home viewing). The 23rd can't come soon enough (of course I'll also have to try to squeeze in Detective Dee, Love Crime, and Restless into that weekend).

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