In his second-to-last role, Marcello Mastroianni stars as a husband, a professor, a butler, and a businessman in Ruiz’s light-hearted, Borgesian salute to fantasy life and the telling of tales, arguably the director’s most accessible and commercially successful film involving the complete destruction of narrative. Here a radio announcer begins one story, which is then continued by another character, who begins to tell another tale, and so on, with each tale getting increasingly stranger and more delightful. Absent husbands, invalid mothers, professors of “negative anthropology,” good-hearted prostitutes, naïve young lovers, and random side-jokes abound (“Don’t let Carlos Castaneda come between us!” shouts one character, several times), but all are united by a ever-winking, liberated-looking Mastroianni and the surrealist trickery (both visual and narrative) of Ruiz, at the top of his game—and here, thanks to Mastroianni’s involvement, with a budget to match. —Jason Sanders, PFA
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
Great script by Pascal Bonitzer and director Ruiz brought to life by Marcello Mastroianni in one of his final screen performances. Four wonderful stories that are brought together equal parts whimsy, surrealistic, suspenseful and clever. Production values are top notch with performances to match, especially our main trio of actresses; Galiena, Paredes and Chiara Mastroianni. A total pleasure to watch.
A statement by Ruiz on his “last movie,” La noche de enfrente, and a moving article about Ruiz written by the film’s producer.
Jorge Arriagada’s collaboration with Raúl Ruiz is one of cinema’s most fruitful, varied and extensive composer-director partnerships.