Raúl Ruiz: 1941 - 2011

Raúl Ruiz, the Chilean-born French director of Mysteries of Lisbon succumbed earlier today to a lung infection. He was 70 years old.

The visionary filmmaker battled liver cancer during and after the filming of his recent Mysteries, but did not let that stop him from completing another film earlier this year—La noche de enfrente, inspired by his childhood in Chile, where it is also set—and working on two more projects in France after that.

Mysteries of Libson has been held over for one final weekend at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Two shows daily: 1PM & 6:15PM. For info & tickets, please click here.

During his 50-year career, Ruiz directed more than 100 films, tragically few of which found their way to theaters stateside.  He began his career creating and directing avant-garde theater in Latin America, during which time he also wrote for Mexican telenovelas.  This contrast of high and popular art is visible in much of his later work.  His first feature film, Tres tristes tigres (1968), won him the Golden Leopard at Locarno. 

Ruiz adopted Paris as his home after fleeing Chile in 1973 as a result of Pinochet’s military coup d’etat and his subsequent persecution of intellectuals and dissidents.  There he continued to direct film, television and theater—in an impressive array of languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English—and became a noted film theorist and academic.  His films continued to garner accolades and critical praise and he is one of a select group of cineastes to have an entire issue of the legendary French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma devoted to his work.

Mysteries of Lisbon, now playing daily here at the Film Society, is a four-and-a-half hour chronicle of the aristocracy of Lisbon during the civil wars of the 19th century originally produced for Portuguese television.  It won the prestigious Louis Delluc prize in France and had its US debut at the 2010 New York Film Festival.  It opened at the Film Center on August 5 and has been held over twice due to popular demand.  Now in it’s final week, it is screening twice each day—at 1:00pm and 6:15pm.  Visit the film page for tickets and more info.

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