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Raúl Ruiz’s Mysteries of Lisbon

Raúl Ruiz, Mistérios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon), 2010, still from a color digital video, 257 minutes.

I will tell you everything at the appropriate time.

—Dom Álvaro de Albuquerque, in Mysteries of Lisbon

A TWOFOLD RESURRECTION, of both the life and the career of Chilean maestro Raúl Ruiz, Mysteries of Lisbon was made as the itinerant director neared death from liver cancer. The majestic control and sustained intricacy of Ruiz’s nesting epic, four and a half hours of false, mistaken, multiple, and discarded identities—the six-part television version runs more than an hour longer—seem doubly miraculous, given Ruiz’s dire health and his propensity for off-leash excursus and experimentation. Mercifully, surgery saved Ruiz, allowing him to enjoy the success of his improbable masterpiece, the director’s best film since his supreme distillation of Proust, Le Temps retrouvé (1999).

Like Time Regained, Mysteries of Lisbon is derived from a literary work of intimidating

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