Surrealist fantasy drama featuring three characters – a murderous and provocative, albeit angel-faced boy, a woman who may be his mother, and a man who may be the same boy.
Simply one of the best from the late Chilean exile fantasist and inexhaustible virtuoso Raúl Ruiz, his celebrated fantasy film City of Pirates is a hypnagogic hallucination that remains indescribable. You can only experience it—or better yet, dream it.
A extraordinary surreal and deeply poetic film, variously evoking the work of Buñuel, Cocteau, Hitchcock and Jodorowsky.
It offers a cinematic experience both lurid and overwrought, but also rich, complex and mysterious. Ruiz seems an under-appreciated genius and this may be his most singular creation.
Strangely beautiful and beautifully strange. City of Pirates, is Ruiz's most Ruizian masterpiece. Though I prefer Three Crowns of a Sailor it's criminal that Criterion hasn't given the lavish treatment to at least one Ruiz film.
While Ruiz had come to cinema very much the unschooled amateur, by the early 80s he had evolved into a master (though still essentially an amateur of decidedly modest means). The complicated Russian-doll stories he tells, often riven w/ split identities and dominated by opaque machinations, speak to the influence of Latin American literature. His visual style (utterly remarkable) begins to owe much to Welles.
The soundtrack is dauntingly beautiful. Love the cinematography as well, and what a treat all those intertwined narratives are...really loved. Saw it twice, on the SILVER SCREEN! Both the opening and ending sequences, are to die for, and man oh man, he shot the whole film, in my homeland (Portugal!), and with my dear beloved (sadly deceased) Dr Bénard da Costa, Chairman of our awesome Portuguese Cinematheque.