Chilean Raul Rutz was a prolific filmmaker who worked mainly in France, and is probably best known to US audiences for movies such as ‘Mysteries of Lisbon’ and ‘Marcel Proust’s Time Regained’.
This is his very last film made when he was dying and I think is best described as his personal farewell to movies. In a complex and impossible ‘story’ this dream-like manifestation mixes all his historical idols such as Beethoven and Long John Silver from his childhood whilst at the same time is relating a narrative of old Don Celso who is about to be one of the victims of a murder plot. Rutz mixes in many of the movie genres he loves : there is even a Randolph Scott Western, in what we assume is essentially a tale of his own life, but with all its eccentric image and heavy use of metaphors, nothing at all is straightforward about this strange madness.
It is quite unlike I have ever seen before, and still has me puzzling some 24 hours later. It was one of the few times that I have sat in an Art House and witnessed half the audience depart before the end. I cannot say that I was riveted to my seat but I was so completely intrigued with the rapid flow of ornate symbolism and visions on the screen that he should choose for his swan song that even though I wasn’t sure what everything meant, I felt somehow compelled to stay to the very end. I have this feeling that some time in the future I will be very glad I did.