Known For: Directing · Birthday: 1941-07-25
88 Movies · 3 TV Series
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The son of a ship's captain and a schoolteacher in southern Chile, Raúl Ruiz abandoned his university studies in theology and law to write 100 plays with the support of a Rockefeller Foundation grant. He went on to learn his craft working in Chilean and Mexican television and studying at film school in Argentina (1964). Back in Chile, he made his feature debut Three Sad Tigers (1968), sharing the Golden Leopard at the 1969 Locarno Film Festival. According to Ruiz in a 1991 interview, Three Sad Tigers "is a film without a story, it is the reverse of a story. Somebody kills somebody. All the elements of a story are there but they are used like a landscape, and the landscape is used like story." He was something of an outsider among the politically oriented Chilean filmmakers of his generation such as Miguel Littín and Patricio Guzmán, his work being far more ironic, surrealistic and experimental. In 1973, shortly after the military coup d'état led by Augusto Pinochet, Ruiz and his wife (fellow director Valeria Sarmiento) fled Chile and settled in Paris, France.Ruiz soon developed a reputation among European critics and cinephiles as an avant-garde film magician, writing and directing a remarkable number of amusingly eccentric though highly literary and complex low-to-no-budget films in the 1970s and 1980s (often for France's Institut national de l'audiovisuel and then for Portuguese producer Paulo Branco). The best known of these often oneiric, fabulist films are: Colloque de chiens (1977), a short which marked the start of Ruiz's long-term working relationship with Chilean composer Jorge Arriagada; The Suspended Vocation (1978); The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (1978); On Top of the Whale (1982); Three Crowns of the Sailor (1983); City of Pirates (1983); Manoel's Destinies (1985); Treasure Island (1985) and Life is a Dream (1986). A special issue of Cahiers du cinéma was devoted to Ruiz in March 1983.In the 1990s, Ruiz began working with larger budgets and "name" stars like John Hurt in Dark at Noon (1992) and Marcello Mastroianni in Three Lives and Only One Death (1996). The following year, he made Genealogies of a Crime starring Catherine Deneuve, winning the Silver Bear at the 47th Berlin International Film Festival. A second major French actress, Isabelle Huppert, worked with Ruiz on Comedy of Innocence (2000), which was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The American John Malkovich acted in the star-studded Marcel Proust adaptation Time Regained (1999) and the somewhat less successful Savage Souls (2001) and Klimt (2006). That Day (2003) was the fourth and last Ruiz film to be shown in the main competition of the Cannes Film festival. He also made forays into the English-language mainstream with the thrillers Shattered Image (1998) and A Closed Book (2010). In the final decade of his life, Ruiz wrote and directed several low-budget productions in his native Chile, but his final international success was the Franco-Portuguese epic Mysteries of Lisbon (2010). Ruiz claimed that he was "always trying to make this connection between different ways of producing: film, theater, installations, and videos" – he hoped his "films would have to be seen many times, like objects in the house, like a painting. They have to have a minimum of complexity." Over the years, he taught his own particular brand of film theory, which he explained in his two books Poetics of Cinema 1: Miscellanies (1995) and Poetics of Cinema 2 (2007), and actively engaged in film and video projects with university and film school students in many countries, including the US, France, Colombia, Chile, Italy and Scotland.Ruiz died in August 2011 as a result of complications from a lung infection, having successfully undergone a liver transplant in early 2010 after being diagnosed with a life-threatening tumour. The Presidents of France and Chile both praised him. The Church of Saint George-Paul in Paris held a memorial service which was attended by many notable friends, including Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Melvil Poupaud, Paulo Branco, Arielle Dombasle, Michel Piccoli and Jorge Edwards. Ruiz's body was then returned to Chile to be buried as specified in his will and a National Day of Mourning was declared in Chile.
Movies & TV Series
Exote: Filming Of The Wandering Soap Opera
A documentary recorded during the filming of "The Wandering Soap Opera" by Raúl Ruiz. Made in 1990 and completed 27 years later, in 2017. The film brings closer the approach in Ruiz's directing style ...
The Wandering Soap Opera
The film revolves around the concept of soap opera. Its structure is based on the assumption that Chilean reality does not exist, but rather is an ensemble of soap operas.
1 TV Series
The Other Day
The house of the director has a door out to the sidewalk. This gate separates the inside from the outside. The interior contains the filmmaker's personal story and his world of objects, thoughts and i...
A coin and a cup of coffee on a table top. Raúl Ruiz gets the most from this minimal set-up, both visually and through the laconic soundtrack.
Night Across the Street
A drama centered on an office worker on the verge of retirement who begins to relive both real and imagined memories.
In one of his very last projects, Raul Ruiz celebrates the films of his historical predecessor Jean Painlevé, a documentary innovator whose work always blended science with surrealism. Ruiz and friend...
1 TV Series
After long decades of exile, a leftist former activist returns to Chile to settle accounts with his conscience, related to the death of a colleague and political hero . The task of Atalibar is to reve...
Surreal gothic comedy about a gambler who wins a strange Chilean mansion and takes his frail wife there.
An experimental narrative commissioned for the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, this film features an anthropologist and her blind uncle sitting in a moving theater and viewing images unf...
La Recta Provincia
This was a man. He lived with his mother. He cared a manor house in the countryside of Chile. One day the man found a bone in the garden. The bone was bored. That was a bone flute. The man with the fl...
To Each His Own Cinema
A collective film of 33 shorts directed by different directors about their feeling about cinema.
A father is scheming to have his slightly mental daughter from an earlier marriage killed by allowing a murderous psychopath to be released from the asylum and led to his house. However, the psychopat...
A Place Among the Living
A mediocre pulp novelist is approached by a stranger claiming to be a serial killer with a proposition to chronicle his crimes.
Comedy of Innocence
Today, Camille turns nine. He had sworn that on his 9th birthday he would show his parents the videos he was shooting on the side - the tail of a cat scampering away, a window, and a veiled woman's fa...
Love Torn in Dreams
A serious young man of free spirit is forced by his surroundings to become rich at all costs. A group of blind children tries to open the eyes of the unbelievers to the Christian faith. Retired nuns w...
L'Inconnu de Strasbourg
Madeleine is with her lover, Jean-Paul, when her husband arrives home and catches the two together. Madeleine kills her husband and tells Jean-Paul to flee before the police arrive. After Jean-Paul dr...
Confusing realities surface in this paranoid film dealing with the fragile nature of a young woman (Anne Parillaud) recovering from rape and an apparent attempted suicide. In one reality, she is a kil...
The Film to Come
If any single piece can act as a key to Ruiz, it may be the 1997 short Le Film à Venir (The Film to Come). The titular film is a holy fragment of celluloid that can only be seen by a secret society kn...
Genealogies of a Crime
At her son's funeral, Solange, a lawyer famous for losing hopeless cases, agrees to defend René, her son's age, accused of murdering his wealthy aunt, Jeanne, who's part of the Franco-Belgian Psychoan...
In Wind Water, Ruiz stages a three-way dialogue between three great cultures: the West, China and Arabia. He imagines what might occur if Shih-T’ao’s six poetic procedures for attaining the primal res...
Fado, Major and Minor
Pierre, a middle-aged tourist guide, is the victim of a sudden failure : he does not recognize anything about him any longer. He goes back home and in his apartment he finds a mysterious young man who...
À propos de Nice, la suite
Anthology of short films about the French city of Nice, by various directors. A homage to Jean Vigo and his "À propos de Nice" from 1930.
Visions and Marvels of the Christian Religion
All the characters are in hell, but they act as though the are in a sitcom, with canned laughter. It's based on Arcana Celestia by Swedenborg, a Swedish esoteric theologian from the 18th Century who s...
Chile is seen through the eyes of a Chinese painter - a traditional painter who uses the concepts of XVIII century Shih-T'ao.
Dark at Noon
In this mystical comedy, Felicien has traveled to Portugal from France soon after the end of the First World War. It seems that his recently deceased father had invested a lot of money in a factory lo...
Amelia Lópes O'Neill
A well-bred young woman who prizes the virtue of fidelity remains faithful to the doctor who deflowers her, even after he marries her invalid sister.
A TV Dante (Cantos 9 to 14)
These six video segments (10 minutes each) were originally developed for broadcast on Channel 4 as the second installment in the larger, never completed, series comissioned for Peter Greenaway and Tom...
The Blind Owl
H., 35, an Arabian immigrant, works as projectionist in an old cinema. One day, drawn by the music, he looks through the window of the booth and is fascinated: the dancer he sees on the screen seems t...
Collaborative experimental project on which three director made different films about the sweden icebreaker "Frej".
The Golden Boat
Inspired in form by American police TV shows and soap operas, The Golden Boat is a madcap, surreal dash through the streets of New York city, telling the mysterious and often hilarious story of an age...
Red Wood Pigeon
Michele is the leader of the Italian communist party and a professional water polo player. On this day he's just lost his memory following a car accident. So he has to discover the intricacies of his ...
From the construction of a sculpture "life size" in the earth, the director Boris Lehman imagines a story that staged a sculptor (Paulus Brun) struggling with an impossible order. The man of land is "...
L'Autel de l'amitié
A series of philosophical dialogues on friendship, architecture, electricity, cannibalism and human rights.
Professor Taranne, a conceited university Professor, is subject to several absurd and disquieting incidents from the world surrounding him. He is being accused of things he couldn't have been doing. H...
Life Is a Dream
A baroque mix of revolutionary politics, pop culture and semiotics loosely based on the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. A young prince learns that life is just a dream from which we wake when we d...
Los naúfragos del liguria
A fire started by Harry Thompson destroys the Liguria, a legendary ship of the 19th century, and its treasure of gold and diamonds sinks in the sea. Thompson manages to escape unaware that Albizetti ...
Jim is a small child who lives in an inn run by his parents. The arrival of a strange captain to the Island they live will trouble his existence and tip him into an universe of adventures.
Régime sans pain
Régime sans pain, influenced by (Ruiz's) friend Jean Baudrillard (and calling) to mind grade-Z SF, grew out of a commission to direct a music video (featuring French cult rock duo of Angèle/Maimone). ...
The Insomniac on the Bridge
This quickly-filmed avant-garde farce by prolific director Raul Ruiz features an insomniac (Michel Lonsdale) whose main preoccupation is surreptitiously watching private matters -- he is a voyeur. He ...
6 Movies · 1 TV Series
City of Pirates
A surreal odyssey in which a melancholic maidservant crosses paths with a homicidal little boy, travels to a tiny island of pirates and encounters a man with multiple personalities.
Manuel on the Island of Wonders
This three part French TV serial for children (alternate versions exist as a feature, Manoel’s Destinies, and a 4 part Portuguese TV serial, Adventure in Madeira) is the favourite of many devotees of ...
7 False Connections
Short film showing cinematographer Henri Alekan, director Raúl Ruiz and actress Olimpia Carlisi at work creating sublime visual effects of the sort seen in City of Pirates.
Voyage of a Hand
In Voyage of a Hand, Ruiz constructs another of his concentric labyrinths that hits us right in the multifaceted center of our confusion. We might decide that what we receive was a story full of inten...
Manuel on the Island of Wonders
Manuel is a young boy who travels from long ago to the present and then to the future.
The Real Presence
Ruiz on the film: "I began La présence réelle (The Real Presence) first. I. N. A. had commissioned me to produce a personal vision of the Festival d'Avignon. This became a fiction about the theater be...
An island retreat. A man, his face bandaged, plays cards nonchalantly. His ex-wife arrives. Conversations happen. (Mubi)
The Return of a Library Lover
Ruiz, rediscovering the things of his past in Chile ten years after the Coup, regards them now with the eyes of another world. This other world is cinema, the mechanical gaze of a Super 8 camera. This...
Three Crowns of the Sailor
A sailor sees a student killing his teacher and decides to spin a few yarns for him. He tells the boy of his many adventures in exotic South American ports where he visited opium dens and stayed in ca...
Now Titus' father has died, the new emperor will be free to marry his beloved Bérénice. Also In love with Bérénice, Titus' friend Antiochus plans to flee Rome rather than face the marriage. However, p...
On Top of the Whale
A parody of anthropology, linguistics, and cultural imperialism. The film follows an unlikely team of linguists into the wilds of an ersatz Patagonia to study the last speakers of a dying language. Th...
Querelle de jardins
Raul Ruiz filmed the gardens of the Château de Versailles. The first one, French, focuses on the King's Square (a space where everything is arranged in order to be seen). The other one, English, is th...
A series of compounding dramatic situations, drawn from Georges Polti's '36 Dramatic Situations' and acted out in shadowplay and voiceover.
A small group of well-to-do vacationers go on a hiking trip into the woods. Foolishly unprepared to deal with Mother Nature and their situation, they wander around lost for days and weeks, becoming mo...
Image de sable
Ruiz’s short about Pieter Wiersma, a Dutch sculptor who makes intricate sandcastles.
The New City
Short documentary film on the construction of the new town, Marne-la-Vallée.
The One-Eyed Man
With his body now devoid of substance and able to fly, N. wanders looking for a way to return to life and reintegrate into the world.
A man awakens to find himself immersed in a real-life scenario of a board game with an ever expanding cartography.
Of Great Events and Ordinary People
In 1978, Ruiz was commissioned to make a television documentary about the French elections from the viewpoint of a Chilean exile in Paris’ eleventh arrondissement. But, contrary to the producers’ expe...
A charming tale of murder, perversity and narrative echoes told through shots of barking dogs and a La jetée-like series of stills.
Petit manuel d'histoire de France
The most critically celebrated Rue essay of 1979 was the two-part Petit Manuel d'Histoire de France, directed by the exiled Chilean filmmaker Raul Ruiz, who brought to this commission some of the styl...
The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting
Two narrators, one seen and one unseen, discuss possible connections between a series of paintings. The on-screen narrator walks through three-dimensional reproductions of each painting, featuring rea...
The Divisions of Nature
Ruiz on the film: "Les Divisions is a documentary about the Château de Chambord and the title comes from the Divisione of Johannes Scotus (Erigena), the ninth century Irish philosopher (who was a 'rea...
The Suspended Vocation
The film centers on a Dominican monk named Jérôme (played by one actor in colour and another actor in black-and-white) and his interactions with various higher-ups within the French Catholic Church. R...
A film made "to contribute to the internal debate of the Socialist Party" as Ruiz himself recalls, showing how a right-wing publicist is radicalizing himself to become a fervent left-wing activist, an...
Little White Dove
A young working class girl falls in love with an upper class boy who is part of the plot to assassinate General Schneider, head of the Chilean Army.
Nadie dijo nada
Four drunken literary bohemians write a short story about a pact with the Devil just as that very story is happening to them.
Now We're Going to Call You Brother
Raoul Ruiz shot this film on March 28th, 1971, during the big peasant march in Temuco, Chile, when the bill that gave the full citizenship and civil rights to the Mapuche Indio people was approved. Ra...
The Penal Colony
A foreign journalist arrives on a small Pacific island 200 miles off the coast of South America. Once a leper colony, the island was later transformed into a prison and then, under U.N. mandate, made ...
What Is to Be Done?
Mordant, self-aware, freighted with sensitivity toward Chile’s problem, wary of caricature, disposed toward consciousness of human fallibility, it is a deft blend of fiction and documentary set in the...