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SFS Talkies / World Cinema Series : On Top of the Whale / Het Dak van de Walvis

What “One of the top ten films of the eighties” – Jim Jarmusch In On Top of the Whale, a Dutch anthropologist couple meet a "communist millionaire" who tells them about his house in Patagonia with two Indian neighbours, the last survivors of a lost tribe. The couple accepts the millionaire’s offer to come live with him.
When 8 July 2008 (Tuesday), 7.30pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897
Admission

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot.

Tickets for the public: $8 / $6.40 concession.
Counter Sales: Stamford Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 7.30pm;
Canning Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 5pm.
Online Booking: www.nationalmuseum.sg (click on Online Booking tab at the bottom of the webpage).
Ticketing Information: 6332 3659.
General Enquiries: 6332 5642.

Patrons are advised that a valid identity pass is required for all screenings.

 

A Programme of the National Museum Cinémathèque
Co-presented by the Singapore Film Society

Tuesday 8 July

On Top of the Whale / Het Dak van de Walvis
Dir: Raúl Ruiz
1982 / The Netherlands / 93 min / 16 mm / Rating TBC
English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and German with English subtitle

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“One of the top ten films of the eighties” – Jim Jarmusch

In On Top of the Whale, a Dutch anthropologist couple meet a "communist millionaire" who tells them about his house in Patagonia with two Indian neighbours, the last survivors of a lost tribe. The couple accepts the millionaire’s offer to come live with him.

In studying the Indians’ lives, various details emerge which completely confound the Europeans: mysterious drawings, stories of skeletons buried nearby, a bewitched mountain. Most confusing is the Indians' language, which consist of a single word spoken with different inflections.

As with other Ruiz films, On Top of the Whale is a puzzle without a solution, and a parable without morals. Here the target is cultural imperialism and a delicious parody of anthropology and language. Like Godard, with whom he has been often compared, Ruiz is an original whose vast body of work marks him as one of the most intellectually challenging, politically savvy and hilarious filmmakers working today.


Raúl Ruiz

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Rising to international prominence in the early 1980s, Raúl Ruiz has proved one of the most exciting and innovative filmmakers of recent years. Slashing his way through celluloid with machete-sharp sounds and images, Ruiz is a guerrilla who uncompromisingly assaults the preconceptions of film art. This frightfully prolific figure - he has made over 50 films in twenty years - does not adhere to any one style of filmmaking. He has worked in 35mm, 16mm and video, for theatrical release and for European TV, and on documentary and fiction features. Ruiz's career began in the avant-garde theater where, from 1956 to 1962, he wrote over 100 plays. In 1968, with the release of his first completed feature, Three Sad Tigers / Tres Tristes Tigres (1968), Ruiz, along with Miguel Littin and Aldo Francia, was placed in the forefront of Chilean film. A committed leftist who supported the Marxist government of Salvador Allende, Ruiz was forced to flee his country during the fascist coup of 1973. Living in exile in Paris since that time, he has found a forum for his ideas in European TV. His first great European success came with The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting / L’Hypothèse du tableau vole (1978); a puzzling black-and-white film adapted from a novel by Pierre Klossowski, constructed in a tableaux vivants style that tells the enigmatic story of a missing 19th-century painting. Influenced by the fabulist tradition that runs through much Latin American literature (Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Alfonso Reyes have all been cited as influences), Ruiz is a poet of fantastic images whose films slip effortlessly from reality to imagination and back again. A manipulator of wild, intellectual games in which the rules are forever changing, Ruiz's techniques are as varied as film itself - a collection of odd Wellesian angles and close-ups, bewildering P.O.V. shots, dazzling colors, and labyrinthine narratives which weave and dodge the viewer's grasp with every shot.