The film takes us on a dreamlike journey in an imaginary land, Cofralandes, a country at the end of the world, or, if one prefers, outside the world. Far-off Chile is shown through the eyes of three travellers: a Frenchman, a German and an Englishman. Accompanying them is a camera behind which is a narrator: a Chilean who re-discovers the strange country that is his homeland – land of dreams and nightmares. Extravagant characters appear before the camera, unusual situations are created, and images are invented from a place whose sweetness wounds and kills; a country whose sole distinctive sign is precisely absence; a place where the absence of colour is the local colour. And yet, little by little, from this sort of Sargasso Sea, images and situations emerge here and there in which pleasure and uncontrollable laughter are revealed as jolly companions to pain and incertitude – but also in which a massacre lurks in a child’s poem and an earthquake, in a smile.
Chilean filmmaker Raúl, or Raoul, Ruiz (1941-2011) was one of the most exciting and innovative filmmakers to emerge from 1960s World Cinema, providing more intellectual fun and artistic experimentation, shot for shot, than any filmmaker since Jean-Luc Godard. A guerrilla who uncompromisingly assaulted the preconceptions of film art, this frightfully prolific figure – he made over 100 films in 40 years – did not adhere to any one style of filmmaking. He worked in 35mm, 16mm and video, for theatrical release and for European TV, and on documentary and fiction features and shorts. His career began in avant-garde theatre where, between 1956 and 1962, he wrote over 100 plays. Although he never directed any of these productions, he did dabble in TV and filmmaking in the early 1960s. In 1968, with the release of his first completed feature, the Cassavetes-like Tres tristes tigres (1968… read more
The original Spanish language commentaries for Notebook’s series on Raúl Ruiz, plus a bonus new, untranslated Spanish article.