Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Film Capsule: Raúl Ruiz's Three Crowns of the Sailor (1983)


Three Crowns of the Sailor (1983)
Directed by Raúl Ruiz

This mid-period masterpiece by the Chilean expatriate unfolds over the course of single evening through a series of first-person flashbacks, nesting the fantastical within the historical in feverish, quintessentially Ruizian fashion. When a wayfaring student (Phillippe Delplanche) crosses paths with a worldly seaman (Jean-Bernard Guillard), a seemingly brief encounter evolves into an all-night exchange of increasingly tall tales of adventure on the high seas and lust on the shores of an imagined Europa. Shot by cinematographer Sacha Vierny in a consistently disorienting array of stocks and stylistic simulacra, the film proceeds by its own hallucinatory logic, moving from episode to episode with a narrative ambition afforded by the cinema and a formal freedom rooted in abstract expressionism. Crystalizing many of the sensorial flourishes he’d soon turn into shorthand, Ruiz pushes past the constraints of verisimilitude only to arrive at one his most gut-wrenching finales. (Mar 16, 10pm; Mar 20, 22, 7:30pm at the Spectacle) [The L]

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