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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...or so-in French translation- said the father of William James III
(no relation), says William, alias Pee Wee Crane, pulp novelist, who
sitting in a restaurant hears invisible diners (mis)tell his own story.
Most of the film is a flashback- the others' version, William's
version, a mixture of both?- we can't know.
William has broken his promise to his wife, Anne-Marie, and gambled again- this time successfully. They go to what he has won; an estate- in Patagonia in 1925 we eventually learn- where the inhabitants are Austrian by birth but insist on speaking French, where the fact that William now owns it makes no difference to the original inhabitants (who aren't very concerned about whether they are dead or alive either). Slowly and formally a strange and mysterious ghost story emerges. It is sumptuously and elegantly filmed, with events taking place off-screen or behind the camera, relishing oddities and absurdities and finally an epilogue ties it all together in an arbitrary but logical way- a characteristic Ruiz film, which recognises it is a film and relishes it too.
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