DIRECTOR: Raoul Ruiz

Rating: U

Next up in Otherfield’s Autumn season at the Institute of Light is a somewhat strange and unexpected film; a film that almost defines what we mean by Lost Gem. The film in question is by Raoul Ruiz, a filmmaker that most would associate with a surrealistic approach rather then with the ‘truth claims’ of documentary realism and who probably achieved his widest renown for his late 90s Proust adaption Time Regained. Here, we backtrack nearly 40 years to 1979 to screen his documentary film Of Great Events and Ordinary People.

A bit more on Ruiz:

After working as part of the Chilean new wave, Ruiz, no stranger to playing with the documentary form (c.f. The Expropriation, 1972), was exiled to France after the fall of the Allende Government. He picked up where he left off and by the late 70s he was commissioned by French TV to make a documentary about the French elections of 1978. Safe to say, after Ruiz had brought his idiosyncratic approach to bear, the resulting film, Of Great Events and Ordinary People, was not transmitted. Interviewed in 1978, Ruiz offered of this film that he was “making a film on the misunderstandings of documentary as a genre.” So, whilst Ruiz is very hard to pigeon-hole, there is a sense that this film could be made to fit the bill as an ‘essay-film’ in that it ‘discusses’ both the documentary form and the electoral system. However, Ruiz, whilst employing ‘expert opinion’ alongside that of the speech of daily life and living, undermines didacticism with a level of satire that goes a far as to pervade the shots, the framing and the editing. Inevitably, the methods and ethos of the Griersonian documentary are here almost ridiculed, and Ruiz, in this film seems to bear out Brian Winston’s hope (as expressed in his book Claiming The Real) for a documentary form that “could be, on occasion, satiric, irreverent and comic”. One could add that Ruiz’s film is committed too. Committed to what? To politics as pleasure? To exposing ideological complicity? To the poetry of daily life? Come along and start all over again as we feel that this film is like a cool shower that blows away the cobwebs and refreshes the eyes and ears.

Entry for this event is free. Please arrive early to reserve your seat(s).


06/11/2017 - 7:00 pm

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Ticket Information

Screening at 7PM: FREE – Please book your space below


Please arrive early to buy drinks at the bar.
Please note we do not screen trailers: advertised time indicates film start time.


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