french films > Nucingen Haus

Nucingen Haus

Nucingen Haus

Nucingen Haus

cast: Elsa Zylberstein, Jean-Marc Barr, Audrey Marnay

year: 2008

colour: yes


director: Raoul Ruiz

runtime: 94

For several years, French-based Raoul Ruiz was one of world cinema’s foremost exiles in Europe. In recent years, however, he has again been making regular artistic visits to his native Chile, of which the entrancing Nucingen Haus is the latest product. Very much in the vintage mode of Ruizian dream narrative, Nucingen Haus is a tale of the uncanny told in flashback structure. Writer William James (Barr) – not to be confused with Henry James’s philosopher brother – wins a rambling mansion and goes with his wife (Zylberstein) to take up residence. But the eccentric inhabitants of Nucingen Haus – a domain governed by bizarre linguistic and social rules – are none too ready to be displaced. A story of vampirism, memory and territorial conflict, Nucingen Haus mixes black humour, surreal non-sequitur and a quite delirious beauty: the compositions, both inside and outside the house, echo the haunted perspectives of Welles in his heyday, and Ruiz uses this particular Chilean landscape – part tropical, part Alpine – to disorienting and enthralling effect.


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