The Films of Raúl Ruiz Come to Lincoln Center


The director Raúl Ruiz and the producer Paulo Branco on the set of “Mysteries of Lisbon” (2010).

Music Box Films

Does it hinder an artist to be adored by a coterie? Can a filmmaker be obscured by the vastness of his output?

Few filmmakers have ever been as invisible or prolific as Raúl Ruiz (1941-2011). Opening Friday, Lincoln Center’s three-week Ruiz retrospective, the first in New York since 1989, offers but a fraction of his oeuvre. Ruiz was more devoted to process than product. Having made more than 100 features, he seems less an auteur than an autonomous region, the creator of imaginary worlds, and worlds within worlds.

In the preface to his two-volume manifesto, “Poetics of Cinema,” Ruiz described the cinema as “an instrument of speculation and reflection” and “a machine for travel through space and time.” Appropriately, the retrospective, titled “Life Is a Dream” after a significant Ruiz movie it doesn’t include, opens with “Time Regained” (1999), Ruiz’s splendidly eccentric adaptation of the final volume of Marcel Proust’s novel “Remembrance of Things Past.”