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Raúl Ruiz: Blind Man’s Bluff

An index of tributes to the Chilean master, including pieces from critics and Ruizians on favorite moments from a vast filmography.
Life Is a Dream: The Films of Raúl Ruiz is a two-part retrospective at New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center running this December 2-22, 2016 and resuming later in 2017.
Above: La chouette aveugle (The Blind Owl, 1987)
Over the next couple weeks, Notebook will be unfurling a series of tributes to Raúl Ruiz: along with some previously published articles, here in English for the first time, the bulk a compilation of new, shorter pieces from a few generous critics and Ruizians on favorite moments from a vast, subterranean filmography. This small, mock-filmography shouldn’t be taken as anything like a comprehensive grip on Ruiz’s films or even incomprehensive grip: the Rouge annotated filmography remains the essential, critical card catalogue. Instead, something like this collection of close-readings can probably only show the ways Ruiz eludes chronology and anything but a kaleidoscopic perspective onto his work. Hopefully it can hint at the many phantom Ruizes unconsidered here while pin-pointing some pivotal moments in a pivoting career.
As we publish the pieces in batches by decade, the links below will be updated as a kind of Table of Contents, and a full compilation of original language versions of the blurbs will be available as we finish publishing. We are happy to start at the end, with a couple reminiscences, and then move to the beginning or so with consideration of Ruiz’s 60s/70s work. Please enjoy, and feel free over the next weeks to contribute below your own memories, thoughts, hypotheses, proofs, ephemera, queries, presumptions, parries, criticisms, chimera, and codes.

CHILEAN MEMORIES by Jeronimo Rodriguez
LA MALETA (1963/2008)by T.C. Smith
DIÁLOGOS DE EXILIADOS(Dialogue of Exiles, 1975) by Catherine Grant (video essay)
COLLOQUE DE CHIENS (Dog’s Dialogue, 1977) by Maxim Pozdorovkin
ON TOP OF THE WHALE (1981) by James Quandt
CITY OF PIRATES(La ville des pirates, 1983) by Ignatiy Vishnavetsky
POINT DE FUITE (1984) by Gina Telaroli
MAMMAME (1986) by  Joe McElhaney
BRISE-GLACE (1989) by Luc Moullet (in English and French / en anglais et français)
THE GOLDEN BOAT (1990) by C. Mason Wells
POETICS OF CINEMA (1994/2005) by Matthew Flanagan
SHATTERED IMAGE (1998) by Zach Campbell
“LOS DOS CAMINOS” / “THE TWO PATHS” by Cristián Sánchez Garfias
TIME REGAINED(Le temps retrouvé, 1999) by David Pendleton
KLIMT (2006) by Adrian Martin
A CLOSED BOOK (2010) by David Phelps
MYSTERIES OF LISBON (2010) by Carlos Losilla
KLIMT Y LA MUERTE RECOBRADA (Spanish language only) by Cristián Sánchez Garfias
Very nice!! How about updating his Mubi page though? About ten of my submissions yet to appear there…
Also, you could add links to these pieces on his Mubi page.
Hi Experimento—our volunteers are going through user submissions for new films to be added, I’m sure yours are on there and will be gotten to as soon as they can. Great idea to add this link to his page, I’ve done so!
Excellent, really looking forward to it!
Ally, we added some the day before you commented! More coming soon.
Just got a hold of “Ruiz on Ruiz: A filmography,” a 1997 Film Comment piece conducted by Gavin Smith and Mark McElhatten of Ruiz annotating his own filmography, and clear this project is also in its shadow. Ruiz: La Chouette aveugle/The Blind Owl (1987, France/Switzerland, 90 min). “The most complex film I have ever made-it has many elements inside. It’s in three parts, drastically separated. It’s based on an Iranian novel by Sadegh Hedayat, a communist who lived in Paris in the Fifties. A projectionist comes to work at a cinema where they show the same film, an Egyptian melodrama, all the time. For some reason it disturbs him. Then the ghost of somebody in the film arrives and he kills it and cuts the body into pieces. Then another film starts, made in old Spanish dialect. Little by little we realize the cinema is the Inferno and this film is his own past life which he will repeat eternally. I mixed it with de Molina’s Condenado por desconfiado. The problem is that you won’t make all the connections if you don’t know the book-it becomes like a frivolous game about films within films. But it’s the opposite: films and reality are connected, they are not separated. It’s not mise en abime, an expression invented by Andre Gide-heraldic stories, plays within plays, images within images without reference, like Escher. When you see a movie inside a movie, the second is at the same level as the first. If you use that, that can be interesting.”
Good job, a really useful update!

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