7.1/10
141
4 user 5 critic

On Top of the Whale (1982)

Het dak van de Walvis (original title)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A drunken sailor recounts the surrealistic odyssey of his life story to a murderous student.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Jean-Bernard Guillard, Philippe Deplanche, Nadège Clair
The Territory (1981)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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, ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Geoffrey Carey, Paul Getty Jr., Jeffrey Kime
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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, ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Jean Rougeul, Chantal Paley, Jean Raynaud
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Jean-François Lapalus, Jessica Forde, Jean-Bernard Guillard
Short | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Pascal Bonitzer, Jean-Loup Rivière
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Hugues Quester, Anne Alvaro, Melvil Poupaud
Manoel dans l'île des merveilles (TV Mini-Series 1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Manuel's fantasy travel through Time goes from Long Ago (Episode 1 - O jardim proibido / Le Jardin interdit) through Now (Episode 2 - O pique-nique dos sonhos / Le Pique-nique des rêves), ... See full summary »

Stars: Ruben de Freitas, Teresa Madruga, Fernando Heitor
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Come to the Village of the Dogs, it's easy to find. Just follow the avenue of crutches and the prosthetic legs hanging from the trees. It's where the Virgin Mary keeps appearing in the sky.... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: John Hurt, Didier Bourdon, Lorraine Evanoff
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An absurdist odyssey through downtown Manhattan with a sweet old serial killer, a student-cum-critic-cum-musician and assorted international bohemians.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Michael Kirby, Federico Muchnik, Brett Alexander
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This film is an experimental mix of documentary and fiction. The film crew travels from the Thai countryside to Bangkok, asking the people they encounter along the way to continue a story ... See full summary »

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Stars: Djuangjai Hirunsri, Kongkiat Khomsiri, Saisiri Xoomsai
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Sylvain Thirolle, Roch Leibovici, Bénédicte Sire
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Chilean exiles in Paris discuss the problems facing them in the early years of the Pinochet regime. They kidnap and attempt to reeducate a touring singer from their homeland.

Director: Raoul Ruiz
Stars: Daniel Gélin, Françoise Arnoul, Huguette Faget
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Jean Badin ...
Luis
Fernando Bordeu ...
Narciso
Herbert Curiel ...
Adam
Amber De Grau ...
Eden
Luis Mora
Ernie Navarro
...
Eve
Edit

Storyline

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. That language apparently consists of a single word, which therefore means everything. Written by International Film Circuit <ifcplanet@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 June 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

On Top of the Whale  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
When Europe meet America or a brilliant linguistic Realismo Magico tale
13 June 2007 | by See all my reviews

This film is one of Ruiz's greatest. Once, I read, with his film Ruiz pay tribute to Jean Luc Godard's Le Mepris. So then, I asked Ruiz (Santiago, 2005)... You were influenced by this Godard's film... ? - which film ? - ... This film Le Mepris with Jack Palance and... your film features same kind of music (Georges Delerue's music is an actor in Le Mepris, and as far as I can feel Jorge Arriagada composed great music for Ruiz's film, but does not top Delerue's), (...) close atmosphere, and two languages... - more than two languages ! - (answered Ruiz). Yes, you are right (...), and then Ruiz goes : "Probably I took it from there". So, as far as art form and influence is concerned we are aware where inspiration is coming from. This being said, to fully understand visions, dreams, ideas we must try to relate to Ruiz background. Ruiz spent half his life in Chile, and the other half in France. Then he is American and European, extremely cultivated man, with socialist roots, being able to share a sophisticated humor. We may say this film is "Realismo Magico" at his best (allow me to describe it as 'dreaming in real time'...). Garcia Marquez, the Nobel Prize winner, developed the style in that great novel "Hundred years of Solitude", where he set the parameters to study America's fate and the Human Condition. All this; is, somewhere, in Ruiz mind. Therefore, in 1980-1982, nothing better than starting a film assuming hilariously that the Soviet Union expanded so much that finally it included Holland, nice joke, very Ruiz, but History proved he was wrong. The film stars here with comrades meeting in Holland. An anthropologist is introduced by his wife to this Chilean communist millionaire, a contradiction in terms, who invited them to his property in Patagonia where are living the two last Yachanes Indians, their ancestors decimated by colonialism and imperialism, the point where the film meet actual History. This is the reason why Ruiz was right, the film was shot in six different languages : English, French, German, Dutch, and the interesting Indian language. In Patagonia Ruiz counterpoints European culture with American culture, in particular with Indian culture, this is the climax of the film where contradictions, dreams, visions, frustrations, prejudices, barbarism, individualism, imperialism are exposed and denounced. The anthropologist left in confusion just to return and realized his wife, Eva (!) is in a relationship with Narcisso, the millionaire; while Adam and Eden (!), wasting not even a minute, have read Hegel; learned French and German; listened Mozart and Beethoven, and being able to develop theories about them all (!) becoming even opinionated... "Hegel was a nice guy", "I do not like Mozart, he was a reactionary, I like Beethoven", this scene is just truly amazing and brilliant, the sarcasms and message is : Europe is everything, we are nothing. Now, everything you have in mind, regardless of roots, etc. ; what it counts, is it coming from Europe. Ruiz takes distance, he smiles (he is ironic), the film is over, the idea is plain, self-evident... "No matter what, Chile will always be juice", said Ruiz in an interview. Culturally and linguistically, what is valid for Chile is valid for America as a whole, and Europe still is, somehow, far away, distant, rather cold, nihilist, attractive and one day, who knows, even Socialism will prevail over there... 9/10


9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?