Sight and Sound - 07/01/2010
"As with Godard's more recalcitrant films, the thrust is not in the details but in the layers of experience being accrued..."
Regarded by many as the first major product of Chile's 'Cinema of Resistance,' this highly unusual 1974 effort from Chilean expatriate director Raul Ruiz takes its inspiration from playwright Bertolt Brecht's REFUGEE CONVERSATIONS. Interested in creating a cinematic meditation on the nature of being a national exile, the Paris-based Ruiz exposes the audience to numerous conversations among his fellow countrymen, who have emigrated to France but insist on clinging to their Chilean identities and ways. Ruiz builds these discussions around a single event: the "Chilean-style" abduction of a pop singer, which involves offering the musician food and drink and then "imprisoning" him with hospitality, warmth and friendship to continually remind him of his origins. As a thematic backdrop, Ruiz contemplates the nature of social belonging, and reveals how many Chilean expats have never fully blended in to French society, and continually struggle to support themselves.