Back to IndieWire

Tell Me a Story: Raul Ruiz’s “Mysteries of Lisbon”

Tell Me a Story: Raul Ruiz's "Mysteries of Lisbon"

Thanks to his towering 1999 adaptation Time Regained (a film that seems more and more like a mirage the further away we get from it), the Chilean-born Raúl Ruiz is one of the few filmmakers whose work truly earns the term Proustian. He has the perfect artistic temperament for the kind of epically layered filmmaking necessitated by his latest project: a film version of Camilo Castelo Branco’s 1852 novel The Mysteries of Lisbon, a beloved Borgesian classic of Portuguese literature little known to English-language readers. His tendency toward the baroque is tempered by a literate approach to character and a stately aesthetic. This is not the sort of film that one would normally call “fun,” but the 69-year-old Ruiz, who has stated that the film might be his last, seems to be having a ball. From the first strings of the swoony, old-fashioned score by veteran composer Jorge Arriagada over the opening credits, it’s clear that Ruiz wishes to envelop the viewer in lush, traditional storytelling; this being wily Ruiz, though, The Mysteries of Lisbon foregrounds that storytelling to a nearly absurd degree. Read Michael Koresky’s review of The Mysteries of Lisbon.

This Article is related to: Uncategorized and tagged