Skip to main content

THE GOLDEN BOAT

USA, 1990 (MIFF 1991)

Director: Raul Ruiz

Raul Ruiz is undeniably a unique figure in world cinema. With well over 40 films to his credit since he began his career in 1968 in Chile, Ruiz has been acclaimed as one of the most inventive & transgressive visual stylists of our time. Watching a Ruiz film is almost a crash course in film history since the advent of sound. Combining psychological drama, police thriller, film noir, fantasy and mystery, Ruiz turns dreams into whimsical images. And here, using dialogue that smacks of Raymond Chandler, TV cop shows & soap operas, he transforms popular literature & plain psychology into Freudian statements. The Golden Boat is the first feature Ruiz has made in the United States, and follows a long spell in France. True to form, this is a madcap, surreal dash through the streets of New York City, from the perspective of a comically compulsive assassin who joins up with a young rock critic and philosopher named Israel Williams. Scattered liberally throughout their adventures, as the assassin pursues the object of his desire -a Mexican soap opera star - are a host of insults to the question "Is there a God?". Ruiz has also managed to capture a particular cultural moment in New York by assembling a fascinating line-up of hip media stars in their own right as stars of this film, including Michael Kirby, Jim Jarmusch, Vito Acconci, Kathy Acker and Joan Jonas, Although unmistakably a Ruiz concoction, The Golden Boat has undoubtedly been influenced by Ruiz's Lower East Side collaborators, who have added a punchy contemporary atmosphere lacking in his French language museum pieces. Bizarre editing and no-frills cinematography (by Maryse Alberti who also shot Poison and H-2 Worker) make for arrestingly disconcerting images that evoke a cockeyed alternative universe.

Poison producer and festival guest Christine Vachon was first assistant director on the film, and will answer questions after screenings.

See also...

THE HYPOTHESIS OF THE STOLEN PAINTING

This is the film that firlmy established Ruiz at the centre of debates on the avant-garde of the last ten years. It started off as A documentary on Parisian intellectual, Pierre Klossowski,who had ... More »

CITY OF PIRATES

La Ville Les Pirates stunned the Venice Film Festival with its breathtaking imagery and bloodthirsty relationship between a murderous child and the woman who may be his mother. Between Anne Alvaro, a ... More »

dias de campo

Following more than three decades in exile, acclaimed Chilean auteur Raul Ruiz returns to his homeland to bring cinema audiences [Dias de Campo]. This film was inspired by two stories from Chilean ... More »

CYBERPUNK

In '82 William Gibson published the first ground-breaking series of what he assumed were science-fiction novels (Neuromancer). Since then 90 percent of his'fictional' concepts have come true. Virtual ... More »

HOLLYWOOD MAVERICKS

Maverick: 1. An unbranded animal: esp: a motherless calf. 2. An independent individual who refuses to conform with his group. - Webster's Dictionary ... Upon receiving the American Film Institute's ... More »

Oreos With Attitude

A wicked tongue-in-cheek satire that turns racial stereotyping inside out. Janet and Richard are a black "buppie" couple living in New York City. After calculating that the risk of producing a dark ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director