Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Raúl Ruiz (Time Regained, Comedy of Innocence) offers up this innovative, multi-layered drama that slides provocatively between reality and fantasy. On a dark, foggy night, a student meets a sailor who agrees to tell the young man the story of his life for three Danish crowns. The sailor’s adventures from continent to continent are extraordinary, because he sails aboard a cursed ship with a ghostly crew. The threads of the story overlap and interweave as the sailor takes the student on a fantastic voyage with exotic characters through strange landscapes. –Amazon
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
Everytime I finish watching a Raul Ruiz movie I feel as if I've been on a long journey where time just slipped away. This is a ravishing work of sublime beauty, and it comes the closest to capturing the nature of dreams as I've personally experienced them. To call it magic would be an understatement. The cinematography by Sacha Vierny is so lush and colorful, and makes use of some... pretty interesting angles. Another one of those movies I was so wowed away by that it's hard to really talk about in detail. And unlike some of Ruiz's other movies, this one is available in a pristine print. Check it out.
Every story needs a listener, just as every ship of ghosts needs at least one lost soul to act as an intermediary. The living soul is needed to breathe life into these dead words; their own thoughts, feelings and experiences making it "real"; much like an audience when watching a film. Ruiz's experiments with colour, composition and narrative structure suggest this feeling of a tall tale, dusted off and handed down by the narrator to its curious listener, the next recruit on this phantom journey into a world of the unknown.
Jorge Arriagada’s collaboration with Raúl Ruiz is one of cinema’s most fruitful, varied and extensive composer-director partnerships.
The Chilean director’s 1983 masterpiece is (for now) watchable online.