The Golden Boat, the first American production from internationally acclaimed director Raul Ruiz, is a dry-humored, surreal tale set in downtown Manhattan. Young writer Israel Williams (Federico Muchnik) encounters a wounded man on the street. Though he has been stabbed several times over, the man seems unaffected by his wounds and refuses to go to a doctor. Instead, he asks Israel to help find his estranged son. Israel reluctantly agrees but is met with disbelief and suspicion from the supposed son, a South American television star. Things become dangerously complicated when the old man proves to be a murderer with shady criminal and political connections. Israel soon becomes lost in a strange world of international celebrities, Marxist operatives, and postmodern literary critics. The film deconstructs traditional techniques, relying instead on unconventional cinematography, jarring sound design, and eccentric patterns of recurring imagery, including several pairs of boots that reappear in odd places throughout the film. Ruiz made The Golden Boat on a shoestring budget, working in collaboration with The Kitchen, an avant-garde theatre group. Several notable members of the New York art scene make cameos, including director Jim Jarmusch and writer Kathy Acker.