Ruiz's first major commercial success within the arthouse circuit of his adopted France, Three Crowns introduced a heady set of elements that he would work through for a subsequent half a dozen films: perverse fairy tale and ghost-ship fantasies; a mélange of high and low culture literary sources; convoluted, multi-perspectival narratives of murder, wanderlust and loss of identity; and the superimposition of European and Latin American mythologies.The film is indeed a florid, exotic brew: Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner rubs shoulders with Last Year at Marienbad, Hans Christian Andersen, Dylan Thomas, Edgar Allan Poe, and Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. Not forgetting Orson Welles, whose post-synchronised sound designs and baroque deep-space visuals are lovingly extended by Ruiz, and whose ghost brings in a further set of associations to Isak Dinesen, Cervantes, Stevenson, Conrad and Melville.The plot may be literally all over the map, but Three Crowns finds its poetic unity in a rigorous logic of paradox, inversion, exchange and the fluid co-existence of seemingly incompatible opposites: life and death, self and other, word and image, past and present. Even the human body becomes a monstrous collage (or moveable feast), as in the memorable dance by Lisa Lyon. Adrian Martin

International title
Three Crowns of the Sailor
Filmmaker
Raúl Ruiz
Premiere
-
Country
France
Year
1983
Medium
35mm
Length
117’
Language
French
Producer
INA - institut nat. de l'audiovisuel, Antenne 2
Sales
INA - institut nat. de l'audiovisuel
Writer
François Ede, Raúl Ruiz
Editor
Valeria Sarmiento
Cast
Jean Badin