Night Across the Street
La noche de enfrente

DISFri, Apr 26, 2013 3:30 PM Not Available
Film Info
Section:World Cinema
Premiere Status:France
Year of Prod:2012
Running Time:113
Original Language:Spanish
dir:Raúl Ruiz
prod:François Margolin
Christian Aspee
scr:Raúl Ruiz
cam:Inti Briones
editor:Raúl Ruiz
Valéria Sarmiento
Christian Aspee
mus:Jorge Arriagada
cast:Sergio Hernández
Christian Vadim
Valentina Vargas
Chamila Rodriguez
source:The Cinema Guild
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If it were possible for a filmmaker to return from the dead it might be that clear-eyed trickster Raúl Ruiz. His posthumously released latest film brings us surreal and elegant thoughts about the border between this world and the next, a frontier as porous as those “special shadows that give out light”—that is, the cinema, as defined here by the director’s boyhood alter ego, Rhododendron (Santiago Figueroa). In the Chilean seaport of the film’s setting, the precocious boy conjures up heroes from Beethoven to Long John Silver to show them his world as they have shown him theirs. The grown-up Rhodo is a Walter Mitty-like office worker named Celso Barra (Sergio Hernández) who is being pushed into retirement as much for the improbable poetry of his speech as for his advancing age. Don Celso’s hero is the amiable French author Jean Giono (Christian Vadim); together they toy with words like words (“butterflies of uncertainty”) and time (“marbles” in play). The film takes a decidedly Pirandellian turn as the residents of a boarding house await the author of Don Celso’s death. From the opening pan of Chile’s marine desert—“a pale sky above a crumbling world”—to CGI-born backdrops that put space between time and reality, Ruiz’s visual message from beyond is that death is just a word, and not to be feared.
-Judy Bloch
Contemporary French Cinema Sponsors
Additional Information

Raúl Ruiz

Chilean-born director Raúl Ruiz worked mostly in France, where he died in 2011 at the age of 70. He engagingly explored the possibilities of film language in over 100 films, many of them Festival favorites, including Genealogies of a Crime (1997) and the Proust adaptation Time Regained (1999). He often teamed with his wife, film editor Valéria Sarmiento. He returned to his native Chile to make Night Across the Street, a work suggested by stories by the Chilean writer Hernán del Solar but whose protagonist, as both a cinema-loving boy and a man nearing his death, suggests Ruiz himself.