Raúl Ruiz

"The hallmark of Ruiz's filmmaking is an intense storytelling style whose purpose seems ironically to call into question the coherence of narrative, the capacities of stories to tell anything at all except their own indeterminacy. His narratives often take the form of seeking an answer to a puzzle that the narrative itself poses, and the answer turns out to be another philosophical riddle." - Robert Sklar (Film: An International History of the Medium, 1993)

Raúl Ruiz

Director / Screenwriter
(1941-2011) Born July 25, Puerto Montt, Chile

Key Production Countries: France, Chile, Portugal, UK
Key Genres: Avant-garde/Experimental, Drama, Period Film, Comedy Drama, Psychological Drama, Comedy of Manners, Adventure Drama, Mystery
Key Collaborators: Jorge Arriagada (Composer), Valeria Sarmiento (Editor), Paulo Branco (Producer), Melvil Poupaud (Leading Character Actor), Acácio de Almeida (Cinematographer), Bruno Beaugé (Production Designer), Elsa Zylberstein (Leading Character Actress), Christian Vadim (Character Actor), Edith Scob (Character Actress), Catherine Deneuve (Leading Actress), Pascal Bonitzer (Screenwriter/Character Actor), Sacha Vierny (Cinematographer)

"A prodigious storyteller, Raúl Ruiz is also a prolific manufacturer of moving images. This Chilean filmmaker, now living in exile in Paris, has molded his films by a deeply personal concern with representation and discourse. His innovative and experimental work thus defies any attempt at classification. The cinema of Ruiz is a cinema of ideas... Chilean cinema in exile has found in Ruiz a respected and vital representative. A total filmmaker, for whom theater, music, literature, and visual arts are familiar territory, Ruiz successfully combines intellectual inquiry with Latin American hedonism." - Zuzana Mirjam Pick (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 2000)
"His European work, ranging from Portugal to Sicily and the Netherlands, has promoted him to the status of a cult art-film director. His eclectic, ironic films display great imagination, combining realism with fantasy and narratives of exile with popular entertainment; they have elicited from critics terms such as 'baroque', 'surrealist' and postmodern', their mise-en-scène drawing on non-naturalistic techniques, with frequent use of filters, mirrors and disorienting camera angles." - Ginette Vincendeau (Encyclopedia of European Cinema, 1995)
"Ruiz is brilliantly educated, irresistibly drawn to the confusion of languages and the exigencies of being an émigré. So, Chilean once, he could no more resist the role of exile than the rapturous tracking shots he loves. Thus driven, film or the attempt at film became his notebook. But he abhorred that chestnut about story depending on conflict, and he shied away from every orthodoxy about how to film things, faces, and action. He actually sees action as a kind of mathematical principle—an x that happens to other people and which permits, from time to time, the illusion of story." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"Although his work has often been savaged by mainstream critics, who find much of it not so much puzzling as indecipherable, Chilean-born Ruiz is undoubtedly an innovator - a surrealist at heart, and probably the biggest challenger of the rules since Luis Buñuel... Ruiz plays with absurdity and juggles with imagination. If his rule-bending sometimes leads him to drop the ball, he can, as few others could claim, say that he has almost invented his own cinematic language." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"The eccentric, experimental and erudite films of prolific Chilean-in-exile Ruiz are marked by off-centre, labyrinthine narratives and copies references to art, literature and film. Cheaply made yet visually rich, they explore philosophical questions of identity, representation and the line between reality and fantasy: the imagery, though often verging on the minimalist, tends to the dreamlike and surreal. Borges, Calderón and Kafka are among his literary forebears; visually, his influences are many, though Magritte, Welles and American B-movies figure strongly." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)
Recommended
Colloque de chiens (1977), The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (1978), Dark at Noon (1992), Comedy of Innocence (2000)
Worth a Look
Tres tristes tigres (1968), Palomita blanca (1973), Of Great Events and Ordinary People (1979), On Top of the Whale (1982), Three Crowns of the Sailor (1982), City of Pirates (1983), Manuel on the Island of Wonders [TV] (1985), Three Lives and Only One Death (1996), Genealogies of a Crime (1997), Time Regained (1999), Combat d'amour en songe (2000), That Day (2003)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
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Films / Books
    Mysteries of Lisbon
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