Night Across the Street (2013)
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Critic Reviews for Night Across the Street
Elegiac, witty and deeply reflective, "Night Across the Street" strikes a mature and complex tone.
Raúl Ruiz's elegiac, enigmatic and mischievous final film.
Unusually suffused with the contrast between experience and memory, reality and surreality.
These are the dreams of a man stepping out of this world, perhaps never more lucid and full of life.
The way Ruiz uses such giddy flourishes in the name of looking back on one's life is both thrillingly irreverent and surprisingly moving.
Audience Reviews for Night Across the Street
In "Night Across the Street," Celso(Sergio Hernandez) may like to play marbles but that does not mean at his advanced age, that he is losing his. So, he attends classes where he befriends Giono(Christian Vadim), a famed writer from abroad, who he tells the story of his childhood where he idolized Beethoven(Sergio Schmied) to such a point that he got in trouble for it. Celso also talks about the man who is coming to kill him in the present. As a semi-autobiographical film, "Night Across the Street" confirms what many of us what have already suspected, namely that Raul Ruiz was one strange kid, who would one day grow up to make the kind of unique movies he eventually would.(One could also make the case that any kid that precocious would have a hard time realistically surviving puberty but whatever.) And with his last film, he announces in style of his intention on going out on his terms to create one of his more memorably weird films.
An old man recalls his childhood, when he used to carry on conversations with Long John Silver and Ludwig van Beethoven, as he waits in his boarding home for the man who will kill him to arrive. This defiantly absurd meditation on death gains contextual poignancy due to the fact that writer/director Raul Ruiz was gravely ill while making it and died before it could be released.
The late Raúl Ruiz's final film is a perfect way to draw a cinematic life to a close. It's a beautiful meditation on approaching the end of one's life, with memories, dreams and phantasms of the mind exquisitely interwoven. We often can't really tell which is which amidst the film's quirky and surreal humor, which is also sustained throughout. The film is characterized by languid camera movement with meticulous scene choreography and composition; unanticipated revelations lie just around corners and outside the frame, and seeing them appear is consistently disarming. There's a real sense of magic in the film's direction. And - *spoiler alert, I guess* - Ruiz doesn't settle for a traditionally beautifully wrapped-up conclusion; the movie goes beyond what feels like a perfect endpoint (and the film would still hold its power were it to end there) and moves into one more perplexing sequence, ultimately cutting to black mid-dialogue. Sounds from behind the scenes on the set are heard over the end credits, and as the final credit rolls, the movie ends with the sound of Ruiz calling, 'Cut!' What a way to go. (Ironically, this is the first Ruiz film I have seen; I'm already convinced of his mastery of the art of cinema, and I'm eager to explore the rest of his filmography.)
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