Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MISTERIOS DE LISBOA / MYSTERIES OF LISBON (2010)

Chilean-born, French-based Raoul Ruiz (1941-2011) had a major international career (100+ titles), but almost no Stateside presence off the fest circuit. His final work, NIGHT ACROSS THE STREET/’12, released posthumously, was a metaphysical bore, but received de rigeur critical nods and a token release. A better entry pic might be this late magnum opus which has more convincing champions. Trimmed for DVD release, it’s still a haul; two parts of a couple of hours apiece, structured like spokes around the wheel of young João, a charity case in the post-Napoleonic Era. Each time we meet a new ‘spoke,’ we find a secret relative and yet another complicated backstory that ties in to everything else we’ve seen. After a while they all seem to outstay their welcome with even the priest in charge of the boy turning up with three or four past (secular) identities. Ruiz treats all these scandals in a Po-faced fashion, letting us take the romantic excesses of love, sex, sin, guilt & honor as seriously or satirically as we wish. But, especially in the Part One, the execution is inert, with flat acting, staging, lighting & pacing, plus ceaseless lateral tracking back & forth that’s reminiscent of those painfully slow-crawling zooms in Roberto Rossellini’s dry-as-toast late-career ‘teaching’ pics. Things improve for Part Two, though a scorecard for the characters might help, Ruiz isn’t much for personalizing close-ups. But he does start conjoining camera moves to landscape, action & character, and a couple of the performers boldly connect with their parts. In spite of instructions? Hard to know what Ruiz wants, his rep for playful attack & subterfuge must come from his earlier pics. (He's often compared to Jean-Luc Godard.)  But wouldn’t we all be better off reading a couple of Borges stories? (Done quicker, too.) Well, 98 film titles to go. We await revelation.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: It’s tough to beat Visconti on this sort of thing, though the tone is involved, not askance. Try SENSO/’54 which touches similar bases of romantic folly, pride, honor & national loyalties in 1860s Italy.

No comments: