On the verge of a forced retirement, Don Celso, an elderly office worker begins to relive both real and imagined memories from his life – a trip to the movies as a young boy with Beethoven, listening to tall tales from Long John Silver, a brief stay in a haunted hotel, conversations with a fictional doppelgänger of a real writer. Stories hide within stories and the thin line between imagination and reality steadily erodes, opening up a marvelous new world of personal remembrance and fantastic melodrama. In this playfully elegiac film, loosely adapted from the fantastical short stories of Chilean writer Herman del Solar, the late master Raúl Ruiz has crafted a final masterwork on his favorite subjects: fiction, history and life itself.
Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight), 2012
Toronto International Film Festival, 2012
New York Film Festival, 2012
“The late Chilean director Raúl Ruiz’s final film is one of the cinema’s grandest, most graceful farewells to life.” —Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“The dreams of a man stepping out of this world, perhaps never more lucid and full of life.” —Michelle Orange, Village Voice
“But this surreal, sentimental journey does provide an excellent encapsulation of everything Ruiz did best: oddball takes on highbrow lit and lowbrow genre conventions, guided tours of characters’ mazelike memory banks, and a reveling in film culture that doubles as a cinephile’s
wet dream.” —David Fear, Time Out New York