Monday, August 22, 2011

Nuestro Cine: Adios Raoul

Chilean-born film director Raoul Ruiz died last week at the age of seventy. He passed away due to a pulmonary infection and while trying to recuperate from a liver transplant.

Ruiz was born in 1941 and grew up near the port city of Valparaiso. Despite studying law and theology Ruiz became an amateur playwright and also set up a film club at university. For apprixmately ten years he directed several short films and features including 1968's "Tres Tristes Tigres" (Three Sad Tigers), which looked at the experiences of three Santiago residents. He fled from his native country in 1973 shortly after Gen. Augusto Pinochet took over the country in a military coup. While residing in France, Ruiz became a prolific filmmaker with over one hundred films under his belt including "Three Lives and Only One Death" (1996), "Klimt" (2006) and "Mysteries of Lisbon" (2010).

Though Ruiz never returned to live in Chile he never forgot his love for his homeland. He stipulated before passing away that he wanted to be buried in Chile, a request that is in the process of being carried out. At the time of his death he was reportedly editing a film on his childhood in Chile.

Ruiz' death was mourned in the film world as well as by figures in his homeland. "Through his films and with a privileged perspective and intellect he opened up the world," said Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. Culture Minister Luciano Cruz Coke added that even though Ruiz "was little-known in Chile" he was also "the most important film luminary" in the country's history.

The following is a clip from Ruiz' 1970 film "The Penal Colony". (The TV Multiversity blog cites a piece that originally appeared in the "Monthly Film Bulletin" that gives an excellent and detailed description of the film). Like other great artists, it appears that Ruiz is gaining more widespread and well-deserved recognition in death than in life.

Online Sources - La Tercera, La Nacion, Time, The A.V. Club, TV Multiversity, AFP
Video Source - YouTube

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