If there is visual paradox in Ruiz’s cinema, it is a paradox of thought in which the cinema will be with and against the image, in its excesses and gaps, its invisibility and undecidability. Placing himself within the very crisis of the action-image and the development of the ‘optical and sound image’ characteristic of modern cinema (from the neo-realism hotly discussed in Chile, to Welles or Buñuel), Ruiz makes use of the time-image, every possible trick-effect and trompe l’œil, in order to inscribe anomaly and the fantastic in the everyday. Thus the image, in its overly realistic or dramatic concreteness, will always be defeated, suspended, caught in the thousand vertigos of the false-seeming and artificial. But the sophistic account of vision carries within it alone the metaphysical question of this narrative cinema: what to believe? And what is it to be fictional within a fiction?
In this initial shipwreck of the real, the Chambord Castle (in The Divisions of Nature) is susceptible to three versions and visions: the first modelled on Fichte, the second on Pascal, and the third in the style of a tourist guide. What remains of the object in this generalised mannerism? Perhaps simply a castle of effects. Chambord floats in the air, cut off from the ground by colour-fields; it fragments under the effect of prisms; it drowns via an effect of ice melting in front of the lens. Chambord no longer exists; it is both real and imaginary. —Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Rouge
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