The Golden Boat1990
The Golden Boat is a 1990 American low-budget film directed by Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz. Shot in New York City, The Golden Boat is Ruiz's first film produced in the United States and has been categorized as an absurdist black comedy.
The setting of New York City is not only important to the plot of the film but also its production, for the film was “made in cooperation with the New York performance art group, The Kitchen.” Ruiz channels the performances of the individuals in the art group in order to complete a “transposition of both US and Mexican soap operas” on screen. The film's low budget was put together through a collaboration of small production companies; Duende Pictures, Nomad Films (Luxembourg), A.A.L.B. Partners, with the film's ludic nature being born out of, or produced through, the “collaboration with the postmodern performance group ‘The Kitchen.’”
One thing that is abundantly clear about the film is its lack of obviousness or clarity, which makes it all the more interesting that this film marked one of the first times that Ruiz shot from a script. But even with a script Ruiz’s The Golden Boat is elusive and ever-changing narrative, a film in flux. "In the United States you have to play by the rules," claimed Ruiz, who was living in the United States for the first time while he teaches film at Harvard. But a man making a feature for $125,000, from a script he wrote in two days and rewrites at whim, with a cast of mostly nonprofessional actors, who did not even know where his post-production money would come from, is not playing by U.S. rules. Yet in his standards this film's production was much more structured than his past works, for Ruiz stated that his American film was very organized. He compares it to his works in France, saying “I have shot scenes where I didn't know which actors were coming. I usually write the scene about one hour before the take." 
The film seems to break all standard conventions in a way that only Ruiz knows how to do so masterfully well. As a spectator one is left wondering what the film is about, as it's “a sort of Beckettian black comedy of anti-manners, involving New Yorkers who insult and knife each other and themselves and then return from the dead - ask the question, provoke guffaws, and never get an answer. More often people defined the story by what it was not: as the Wooster Group's Kate Valk, the Mexican soap-opera star, lectured me, “There’s no psychologically linear narrative. It’s more formal, more surreal. I am the sound of my voice, which is the same as the color of the room.” 
Members of the production crew were given little direction in a way that provides legitimacy to the power of not knowing. Continuity is nearly entirely absent, for Michael Kirby, the NYU professor of performance studies who was playing Austin, a knife-wielding philosopher, said The Golden Boat had "the strange continuity of a dream. The smallest thing that comes into a dream will suddenly make it take off in that direction." When asked about this, Ruiz began making air-drawn maps that turned and wandered and branched out like some unstoppable family tree. "You can follow this direction or you can follow that direction and then suddenly there's another one which moves parallel to that one," he said.
The film deconstructs traditional narrative techniques, multiplying the linguistic eccentricities. The Golden Boat was realized on a small budget, relying on the avant-garde theater company The Kitchen. Several important actors on the New York scene took part in the film such as filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, writer Kathy Acker, Vito Acconci, John Zorn, the Wooster Group, or Annie Sprinkle.
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Rotterdam International Film Festival