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Raoul Ruiz’s epic multi-strander „Mysteries Of Lisbon” (PÖFF 2011) may have been the last major offering from the Chilean-born globetrotting experimentalist, but NIGHT ACROSS THE STREET is the farewell film proper from Ruiz, who died last year. It’s a whimsical and tender leave-taking note to the world, to cinema and to his native Chile, from which he was exiled for many years.

„Ruiz … was clearly preoccupied with his mortality while making NIGHT ACROSS THE STREET and the film is very much a last testament – yet one of the jolliest hearted valedictories that cinema has ever produced. Unlike Ruiz’s recent, relatively mainstream work, NIGHT ACROSS THE STREET is a fluid essay in film as poetry, like his French-made work of the early 80s (e.g. „City of Pirates”) …

Set in contemporary Chile, the film is about an elderly office worker, Don Celso (Sergio Hernandez); as retirement looms, he awaits the mysterious stranger who, he’s convinced, is coming to kill him… The film cuts between the present and Don Celso’s childhood: we see him as a solemn, precociously philosophical boy prone to chatting with Long John Silver and Ludwig von Beethoven, the latter accompanying him to a memorable film screening… The camerawork is as lithe as ever, and Inti Briones’s photography is gloriously coloured, especially in the use of warm rose hues and of bronze shades for the seascapes. The manyshaded dialogue takes in elliptical musings, surreal wisecracks and tart in-jokes about Chile. Playful and wildly imaginative to the last, this film shows Ruiz going out dreaming, and laughing.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen