The film that arguably put Ruiz on the map was this beguiling art-historical whatsit—an investigation, informed equally by scholarship and speculation, into the connections between a series of paintings by the unheralded 19th-century French painter Frédéric Tonnerre and human sacrifices carried out by a Baphometic cult. An art collector and his unseen interviewer seek to unravel the increasingly bizarre and sordid links between the paintings and their historical moment by staging painstakingly crafted tableaux vivants to conjure their mystery, menace, and erotic energy. However, one of the paintings went missing many years ago… Co-written by Pierre Klossowski, The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting announces one of Ruiz’s key concerns: the terrifying encounter between human imagination and the unknowable. 35mm copy from the collection of La Cinémathèque de Toulouse.