Night Across the Street

Night Across the Street

Director: Raúl Ruiz

Cast: Christian Vadim, Sergio Hernandez, Valentina Vargas


The final film from prolific Chilean director Raúl Ruiz (Three Crowns of the Sailor, That Day), Night Across the Street draws from the writings of author Hernán del Solar to tell the tale of aging office worker Don Celso (Sergio Hernandez),…  See more details below


The final film from prolific Chilean director Raúl Ruiz (Three Crowns of the Sailor, That Day), Night Across the Street draws from the writings of author Hernán del Solar to tell the tale of aging office worker Don Celso (Sergio Hernandez), whose intimate conversations with poetry teacher Jean Giono (Christian Vadim) offer a vivid reflection of an imaginative childhood spent lost in conversation with Long John Silver (Pedro Villagra) and going to the cinema with the Chilean Ludwig van Beethoven (Sergio Schmied). Later, as Don feels death closing in, the veil that separates the mundane from the fantastical seems to wear thinner by the moment.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
The vast majority of movies adhere to the basic tenets of narrative. They tell a story that is more or less linear, even if those events are shown to us out of order (á la Memento). There are, on the other hand, a number of art-house films that throw off the shackles of narrative and present themselves more like music does, with recurring themes reappearing throughout the piece. Raúl Ruiz spent his career bending time and perception, and his dreamlike, melancholy-laced final picture, Night Across the Street, is no exception. The movie centers on Don Celso (Sergio Hernández), a soon-to-be forced retiree whom we first meet sitting at a desk in a poetry class surrounded by young men listening to a teacher lecture on the translation of a poem. There's a line about "shadows of the past" and the teacher says, "Let's play with that." That last quote serves as the mission statement for the whole film. Ruiz has no interest in following a conventional narrative, so instead he treats us to scenes of Celso as a young boy, talking with his idol Beethoven (nobody else can see the famous composer) and learning about his family's staunch political positions at a time when Chile was in turmoil. Eventually we learn that Celso believes one day a man is going to murder him, and he supposes that everyone who comes to stay at the boarding house where he resides will be that man. However, when death finally comes for Celso, that's far from the end of the story; Ruiz is unconcerned with reality -- let alone conventional ideas about time -- and his conception of the afterlife turns out to be just as mysterious and free-flowing a place as life itself. This is all the more poignant because Night Across the Street received a U.S. release after his 2011 death at the age of 70. Hernández has a fantastic face. Looking at him is like looking at your wise but sad grandfather as he reminisces about being a child -- only in this instance, those memories include chatting warmly with Long John Silver about his parents' deaths and taking Beethoven to the movies with his best friend. Ruiz may have had some clear understanding of what this work is supposed to mean, but truth be told, he's structured it so unconventionally that it seems impossible to misinterpret it; however you feel about it or organize it in your own mind and heart will be totally valid. He brings back pieces of music, particular words (this movie must hold the record for the number of times the word "rhododendron" is uttered onscreen), and conversations about time, translations, and ships with such regularity that they take on the same importance for us as they do for Celso. Like the majority of Ruiz's work, Night Across the Street isn't easy to understand, but the opaqueness is intentional. That will make it an impossible viewing experience for many people, but for those already familiar with Ruiz's filmography, it's a fitting farewell from the director.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Cinema Guild
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Ballet Aquatique (2012, 54 mins): a film by Raul Ruiz; "Lasting elements on the last horizon,": a visual essay by Kevin B. Lee; Theatrical trailer; Booklet featuring "chronicle of a death foretold," an essay by James Quandt

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christian Vadim Jean Giono
Sergio Hernandez Don Celso Barra
Valentina Vargas Nigilda
Chamila Rodríguez Rosina
Santiago Figueroa Celso as a Young Boy
Pedro Villagra Long John Silver
Sergio Schmied Beethoven

Technical Credits
Raúl Ruiz Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Jorge Arriagada Score Composer
Christian Aspee Editor,Producer
Inti Briones Cinematographer
Roberto Espinoza Sound/Sound Designer
Francois Margolin Producer
Daniela Salazar Production Manager
Valeria Sarmiento Editor
Felipe Zabala Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Night Across the Street
1. Scene 1 [5:09]
2. Scene 2 [5:09]
3. Scene 3 [8:21]
4. Scene 4 [9:33]
5. Scene 5 [8:47]
6. Scene 6 [5:38]
7. Scene 7 [13:50]
8. Scene 8 [10:06]
9. Scene 9 [10:22]
10. Scene 10 [11:16]
11. Scene 11 [5:04]
12. Scene 12 [6:42]
13. Scene 13 [9:59]
14. Scene 14 [2:06]

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