The first visual paradox of Ruiz’s cinema: how to create a second degree baroque, how to show phantoms, those phantoms which haunt, as if repressed, the Latin American imaginary? ‘As soon as something becomes visual it ceases to be fantastic. The moment we see a ghost it stops being a ghost: a ghost is only a ghost if it is barely visible,’ says Ruiz. This invisible edge, this non-visual, almost unreal aspect of the image where the visible must figure the invisible, immediately connects with this ontology of ‘reality’s lack of reality’ which is close to the Baroque elegy to nothingness, with its redundant, proliferating elaborations. Atopic, the Ruizian gaze would find its place at the encounter of the visible-invisible, in the paradox of seeing and thinking, in this great, comic sophistry which unfolds in the parable of the blind man in Three Crowns of the Sailor. Just as Epimenides the Cretan proclaimed that all Cretans are liars, the blind man – the blind look – gives both true and false information to those who disembark from the Funchaleuse. ‘The world is a lie … But don’t believe me … ’ Does he die from a real bleeding wound, or from a fake one, covered in red paint?
Even more excessively, The One-Eyed Man offers the same scenography and the same sophistic parable of vision. The voice-off announces that everyone is dead and that N., a living-dead like the sailors of the Funchaleuse, sees the world as ‘dead’, a subjective camera following his movements and panoramic gestures. A dead, indeterminable gaze, from the dummy position (as in a bridge game), or again a blind look. N. meets Platinum Brain, the blind man turned clairvoyant post surgery – in keeping with the Calderónian metaphor where seeing gives death and vice versa. —Rouge.com.au
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