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 »
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 »
It is hard to imagine a more radical fusion of form and content than what is on display in Dog's Dialogue (Colloque de chiens), among the earliest films the late, great Raúl Ruiz made in France after leaving Chile in 1973. Though inspired by Latin American photo-novels, this sensational tale of murder, lust, suicide and personal and sexual identity suggests nothing if not the most dramaturgically baroque of Fassbinder films (the effect, perhaps, is only heightened by the use of academy ratio and, well, authentic-looking stylings). Yet it is told primarily through (dry) narration over a slideshow of still images, as if Ruiz were paying homage to Chris Marker and La Jetée (1962), which utterly dissolves the inherent melodrama of the content, before reinstituting it with a modernist edge.
Only about twenty minutes long, the film opens with a few live shots of barking dogs—a visual motif along with similarly rendered shots of banal streetscapes, echoing the claustrophobic circularity of the narrative—before a still of a few girls in a school playground is accompanied by the narrator intoning, "The woman you call mum isn't your mother." A variation of this line will close the film, which also contains a number of textual and dramatic repetitions (Ruiz: "I cut out various phrases and made a new story in which the same phrases were repeated in relation to different events. It runs through several times but is always the same phrase that recurs. This is the whole trick"). Shot by future Assayas mainstay Denis Lenoir and featuring Ruiz's first collaboration with the Chilean-born composer Jorge Arriagada, this surprise winner of the French César for Best Short is one of the most rigorous yet satisfying Ruiz films I have seen to date.
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