Raúl Ernesto Ruiz Pino and later known as the filmmaker Raoul Ruiz and even later as Raúl Ruiz -- who died a year and one-half ago, I probably should wait a bit before trying to write about this particular confluence of art and leave-taking, for fear that sentimentality will prove too strong a force. But as the film opens today, and I have promised to cover it, let's just... wing it.
NIGHT ACROSS THE STREET (an intriguing title that I cannot begin to explain: how is this different from night next door?) offers many of the same themes and styles that always seem to have attracted Señor Ruiz, among them exile and identity, present and past, young and old, life and death, the corporeal and the ghostly, the experimental and the surreal, and theory brought to odd life -- regarding film and just about everything else. Born and raised in Chile, Ruiz worked as a filmmaker until the U.S.-aided Pinochet coup, when he escaped to France, where he lived and continued to work over the decades. As I understand it, toward the end of his life, he returned to Chile to make this final film (plus a few others as yet unseen by us hoi polloi). I've only viewed maybe a dozen of his enormous output of 117 (both shorts and full-lengths), but it does seem to me that this "Night" is not only his best but in many ways the apotheosis of his oeuvre.
Mysteries of Lisbon, are among his most playful without being quite so insistently confusing as some of his earlier films. (Or maybe I've just grown up enough to better appreciate him.)
The Cinema Guild, opens today, Friday, February 8, in New York City at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. I don't see any other upcoming playdates, but surely some new ones will appear soon.