7.5/10
878
6 user 12 critic

The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (1978)

L'hypothèse du tableau volé (original title)
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

Writers:

Raoul Ruiz, Pierre Klossowski (participation)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Rougeul ... The collector
Chantal Paley Chantal Paley ... Personnage des Tableaux
Jean Raynaud Jean Raynaud ... Personnage des Tableaux
Daniel Grimm Daniel Grimm ... Personnage des Tableaux
Isidro Romero Isidro Romero ... Personnage des Tableaux
Bernard Daillencourt Bernard Daillencourt ... Personnage des Tableaux
Jean-Damien Thiollier Jean-Damien Thiollier ... Personnage des Tableaux
Alix Comte Alix Comte ... Personnage des Tableaux
Christian Broutin Christian Broutin ... Personnage des Tableaux
Guy Bonnafoux Guy Bonnafoux ... Personnage des Tableaux
Tony Rödel Tony Rödel ... Personnage des Tableaux (as Tony Rodel)
Pascal Lambertini Pascal Lambertini ... Personnage des Tableaux
Jean Narboni Jean Narboni ... Personnage des Tableaux
Vincent Skimenti Vincent Skimenti ... Personnage des Tableaux (as Vincent Schimenti)
Anne Desbois Anne Desbois ... Personnage des Tableaux
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Storyline

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, featuring real people, sometimes moving, in an effort to explain the series' significance. Written by <mbcohn@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

4 April 1979 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Hipótese do Quadro Roubado See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first credited film role of Jean Reno. See more »

Connections

Featured in Visions: Screen Pioneers No:3 Raul Ruiz (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Thieves
22 March 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

There's a blanket term in film criticism, reflexivity. Its an odd word. It denotes something where outside and inside are merged or mixed, where viewer and viewed overlap. And yet the word itself is not reflexive, it stands aloof. While the root comes from reflection, and the direct form would be reflective, the whole thing smacks of an invented concept that sterilizes the user from the phenomenon it denotes.

Its a word that drives me a bit crazy, in part because it is applied to several different types of things that have little to do with one another. The concept as used by the most prominent writers just appears as if it were built into the universe as some by-product of intelligent design, a sort of natural effect like dreaming that writers can reference.

I've tried to repair that by redefining a larger class of effects as "folding," teasing out the various types, and attempting to explain why they were invented and to serve what narrative utility. Without this, you get philosophical notions that are refined away from life; and then artists that quote those refined sugars in art as if they really indicated life.

Like we have here.

I've decided to get into Ruiz in a serious way. I saw his corner of Swann's Way and was impressed. Reader emails have indicated that he shares space with Greenaway, who I admire. So I went with this because it is supposed to be his most abstract and "pure." It is photographed by perhaps the best folded cinematographer who has ever lived.

I admit, it is clever, in a "Saragossa Manuscript" sort of way. We have several levels: us; our disembodied narrator; our on-screen narrator; a collection of actors that in a simple movie would be giving us a story and here do tableaux instead; our painter that is a narrator in seven paintings; and under that a score of narrators-in-life: families, religions and societies in knots.

The idea, the folding, is that these layers merge and shift one into another.

With a little work, you can get the point, and it is a worthwhile one.

But you can do this, all of it, with even more bizarrenesses without draining the blood and breath out of the thing. It is possible to fold all that into life and present us edges of that life, stuff that sweeps us in and gives us the stuff of structured dreams. This is an essay with some artistic vocabulary; it isn't art.

Damn the French for messing us up so. I'm sure Ruiz eventually found his way to judge from what I saw of his Proust. But this. Its worth watching as an exercise, but if you are looking for bits of cinematic bone and flesh from which to construct your being, look elsewhere. This is a cadaver.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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