Kino Europa / Saturday, 12th May / 8:50PM

The Wandering Soap Opera / La telenovela errante

Chile, 2017., 80' DCP
Director: Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento • Scenario: Raúl Ruiz, Pía Rey • Photography: Leo Kocking, Héctor Ríos, Rodrigo Avilés • Montage: Galut Alarcón • Music: Jorge Arriagada • Production: Poetastros • Roles: Luis Alarcón, Patricia Rivadeneira, Roberto Chignoli, Maricarmen Arrigorriaga, Fernando Bordeu, Maria Erica Ramos, Francisco Reyes, Liliana Garcia, Mauricio Pesutic

After the making of Ruiz’s film which began in the early nineties was brought to a halt due to his death, his restored reels, which seem as a complex testament, were edited by his widow, Valeria Sarmiento, who is signed as the co-author. By looking at the Chilean reality as an artificial soap opera, which becomes the filter for that same reality, the author ironically uses dialogues such as “Are you leftist?”, and “If you do not behave in this world, you will become Chilean in the other”, which simply do not belong to that milieu. This is why the intervention by his wife moves beyond the aesthetics of the “personal film” and could not be more relevant today. Because, according to Ruiz, Chilean reality exists in one form only – the soap opera. Its humour is at the same time surreal, absurd and cruel, pulling the audience into a mysterious Borghesesque labyrinth. Clearly, Ruiz had great fun in treating TV picture as a threat reminiscent of Cronenberg, and Buñuel as well, as he tries to construe some kind of a parallel world. Let’s not forget that the material he had shot belongs to the 1990 in which the said period of Pinochet’s tyranny officially ended, and the first free elections were organized.

Raul Rúiz (1941, Puerto Montt – 2011, Paris). After the Chilean coup d’etat in 1973, he moved to Paris. His feature debut, Three Sad Tigers (Tres tristes tigres, 1968), made him the key figure of the Latin-American political film. During the Parisian exile, he wasn’t sitting still (La vocation suspendue, L’Hypothèse du tableau volé, La ville des pirates, Le temps retrouvé, Comédie de l’innocence). His films would be almost unimaginable without the signature of the Portuguese producer Paulo Branco. He is considered the only worthy Godard’s heir.  

Valeria Sarmiento was born in 1948 in Valparaís. She studied philosophy and film at the University of Chile. She regularly collaborated with her husband, Raul Rúiz. Her independent projects include films such as Notre mariage (1984), Amelia Lópes O’Neill (1990), Secretos (2008) and Linhas de Wellington(2012).