Screen/Society--"The Wandering Soap Opera" (2019) | Raul Ruiz | Triangle Premiere
"The Wandering Soap Opera"
(Raúl Ruiz, 2019, 80 min, Chile, Spanish with English subtitles, Color, DCP)
In 1990, Ruiz conducted six days of acting workshops and filming in his native Chile, yielding a small wealth of 16mm footage that was never edited together until Valeria Sarmiento, Ruiz's wife and chief collaborator, found the footage in Duke University's Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library and completed the film, nearly six years after Ruiz's death in 2011. The result is a wildly inventive, episodic work of political satire born of Ruiz and Sarmiento's vision of "Chilean reality" as a grand pastiche of soap-opera tropes-in other words, that the best way to understand the political and economic realities Chileans face is to view their situation through the sublime and ridiculous prism of the telenovela.
"Clearly relishing the stylistic leeway afforded by the genre-the film's prismatic color palette and exaggerated decoupage provide enough aesthetic pleasures to make one mourn yet again the absence of one of cinema's great stylists-Ruiz takes as fanciful an approach to the film's visual design as he does its object of critique." - Jordan Cronk, Film Comment