Latin American Competition
Special Mention - «The Wandering Soap Opera»
The figure of Raúl Ruíz does not need much introduction. Twenty seven years after being shot and co-directed by Ruiz and his widow, director Valeria Sarmiento, actress Chamila Rodríguez and film editor Galut Alarcón, along Samiento herself, rescue The Wandering Soap Opera, a hilarious sarcastic look about the emergent post-Pinochet Chilean society and yet another proof of how original, lucid and irreverent the greatest Chilean director can be.
“Chilean reality does not exist, it’s rather a bunch of soap operas.” Ruiz’ definition works as the starting point and a common thread for a provocative and doomed film full of sarcasm, sometimes structured as if it was guided by a surrealist whim and a merciless intuition. As every unfinished posthumous work, speculations and intrigues are hard to avoid: What would have been Ruíz’ final cut for those almost four hours of filmic material? However, in this case, the rescue not only is proof of Valeria Sarmiento's incredible ability to edit and direct, it also leaves the spectator with the pleasant feeling that he could access, once again, a world view by this remarkable director/author. In its soap-opera-like staging, the cliché is observed under the lenses of delirium and absurd situations.
Born in the context of a drama workshop, with a cast made up mostly of TV actors, puerility goes hand in hand with Chilean context of the return to democracy -the exiled come back, a satire of a conservative left, political opportunism- and an everyday life formatted according to the law of the television “latas”.
The Wandering Soap Opera picks up on certain theoretical contemporary premises regarding power and the tyranny in the audiovisual universe -the reality as a simulation, the television representation as the cristalization of an non-critical world, the prisoner of metafiction- that reminds us that Ruiz was not only a remarkable director but also a sharp thinker of image.