With the approach of the 50th New York Film Festival, slated to run from September 28 – October 14, we're counting down with a film from every previous NYFF as part of our "50 Years of the New York Film Festival" series. Tonight, we'll pay tribute to the late Raúl Ruiz with Three Crowns of the Sailor, his dazzling opium dream of a movie from the 22nd edition of the festival in 1984.
During his 50-year career, Ruiz directed more than 100 films, tragically few of which found their way to theaters stateside. His history with NYFF spans 30 years from when his short Dog’s Dialogue played at NYFF '80 to when his latest (but not last) film Mysteries of Lisbon screened at NYFF '10—and went on to have an extended run at our brand new Film Center in 2011. The prolific director of cryptic films passed away at the age of 70 in August of 2011, just after finishing production on La Noche de Enfrente, based on stories by the Chilean writer Hernán del Solar.
Three Crowns of the Sailor is centered on an encounter between a student who has just committed a brutal murder and a drunken sailor who persuades the scared youth to accompany him to a nearby dance hall and listen to his macabre life story. Discovering that he's condemned to remain the only living member of the crew, the sailor passes through a series of adventures in brothels and Latin American ports, all of which take place in a vividly surreal limbo world that Ruiz and master cinematographer Sacha Vierny (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Belle de Jour) fashioned out of real locations in Paris and Portugal using a series of ingenious optical effects. “Paradoxes build on paradoxes and logic on illogic,” writes Chicago Reader film reviewer David Kehr, “and yet the game has a serious end, building toward a world stripped of substance, in which everything signifies but nothing means.”
To see what else is coming up in our year-by-year survey of NYFF's history—including masterpieces from Clint Eastwood, Jackie Chan and Michael Moore, who will be in person at the April 24 screening of Roger and Me (NYFF '89)—head to the series page.
Below is a list of all the films that played along with Three Crowns of the Sailor at the 22nd NYFF in 1984:
Richard Pearce, USA, 1984.
Rouben Mamoulian, USA, 1935.
(A NYFF Retrospective)
THE HOLY INNOCENTS
Mario Camus, Spain, 1984.
AMERICA AND LEWIS HINE
Nina Rosenblum., USA, 1984.
Diego Echeverria, USA, 1984.
STRANGER THAN PARADISE
Jim Jarmusch, USA/West Germany, 1984.
A HILL ON THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (BERGET PÅ MÅNENS BAKSIDA)
Lennart Hjulström, Sweden, 1983.
DIARY FOR MY CHILDREN (NAPLÓ GYERMEKEIMNEK)
Márta Mészáros, Hungary, 1983.
A LOVE IN GERMANY (EINE LIEBE IN DEUTSCHLAND)
Andrezej Wajda, West Germany/France, 1983.
A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY (UN DIMANCHE A LA CAMPAGNE)
Bertrand Taviernier, France, 1984.
Wojciech Marczewski, Poland, 1981.
Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 1983.
A FLASH OF GREEN
Victor Nuñez, USA, 1984.
LOVE ON THE GROUND (L’AMOUR PAR TERRE)
Jacques Rivette, France, 1984.
Richard Lowenstein, Australia, 1983.
CLASS RELATIONS (KLASSENVERHALTNISSE)
Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, West Germany/France, 1983.
THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK
Robert Epstein, USA, 1984.
TOKYO OLYPIAD (TOKYO ORIMPIKKU)
Kon Ichikawa, Japan, 1965.
MEMOIRS OF PRISON
Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Brazil, 1984.
MAN OF FLOWERS
Paul Cox, Australia, 1983.
Joel Coen, USA, 1983.
A NOS AMOURS
Maruice Pialat, France, 1983.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA
Sergio Leone, USA/Italy, 1984.
TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (LES DEUX ANGLAISES)
François Truffaut, France, 1971.
Wim Wenders, West Germany/France, 1984.