#207 Night Across the Street (2012, Raul Ruiz)
An elegy from a director who died mid-edit - the last of Raul Ruiz’s many, many films is, shamefully, the first that I’ve seen.
Raul seems to be a real pictorialist, almost every frame in this is immaculately organised and considered, layered, boldly colourful images that often utilise the Z-axis as much as X/Y, forcing perspective and making a lot of scenes stagey yet interesting.
Classical camera movement and composition mirrored with modern methods, Night Across the Street uses green-screen and digital and all the tools of the modern trade to create a series of ever-gliding and drifting sketches/flashes. Moments, memories actual and falsified played out, discussed (it’s quite a literary film) and explored, resulting in a dithering, contemplative tone poem about a man facing the immediacy of death that whilst not always engaging, and could certainly be aided by a tighter edit, is very warm and heartfelt.
Ruiz was terribly ill when making Mysteries of Lisbon, and died finalising this. The awareness of finality was inherent to the production of this film, yet it is not angry or sad about it, instead full of acceptance, grace and humour in the face of the end.
"Life is lent to us. We simply follow the leader."