A peeping-tom academic (Michael Lonsdale) and a hunchbacked prizefighter (Jean-Bernard Guillard) find nocturnal rapprochement in their shared inability to sleep. Bottomless philosophical discussions take the men further afield of reality, and they eventually decide to rape a pregnant woman named Violette (Olimpia Carlisi), who then throws herself into the Seine—only to return time and again in new, horrifying forms, including the spectral visage of her son (Ruiz’s child alter ego Melvil Poupaud). One of the director’s most confrontational visions, The Insomniac on the Bridge is a barbed avant-garde meditation on trauma, rationalization, and delirium—an underside that Ruiz, as always, reminds us is clinging to the crust of day-to-day reality.

Screening with:
Dog’s Dialogue / Colloque de chiens
Raúl Ruiz, France, 1977, 35mm, 22m
French with English subtitles
This comedic short, mostly composed of still images, liberally riffs on soap operas and melodrama and explores some of Ruiz’s key preoccupations: identity and gender confusion, the family structure, and murder as an absurdist expression of desire.  Print courtesy of the Institut Français.