Raoul Ruiz's Three Crowns of The Sailor is a magical adventure spanning many locations that's as fantastically surreal as one would expect from Ruiz. The film begins in modern day Antwerp where an old drunkard sailor witnesses a young student, Tadeusz, kill his friend and benefactor; the owner of an antique shop. The sailor, knowing of this boys troubles, offers him work and a chance to escape to the open seas. In return the sailor asks for three Dutch crowns and the boy's ear, as the sailor wishes to share his tale of how he came to be aboard this vessel and the various places it has taken him. Three Crowns of Sailor is a film that defies almost all description, following this sailor as he visits opium dens, whore-houses, etc. where he meets an eclectic group of characters who could only be described as mystical or opaque. What Ruiz has crafted a story that is some strange hodgepodge of folklore, ghost story, and sophistication that together makes up a film far more interested in the journey than the idea of a cohesive narrative actually making sense. Essentially, the sailor discovers that he is on some type of ghost ship, the only living man aboard, with each story becoming more fantastical and hard to explain. As the film progresses, the lines between reality and fantasy completely blur for both the character and the audience as he meets more outlandish characters, like a Singapore professor who ages backwards for example, with the viewer being pulled along for the ride. The visual palette which Ruiz creates for this film is stunning, using a noir-esque black-and-white for the real-time segments between the sailor and the student, and a vast array of vivid colors ranging from red to orange to blue that personify the sailor's stories; a world that's full of life. Three Crowns of The Sailor can be an extremely difficult film to grasp but for me this film is a celebration of life, using an exaggerated reality to capture the vast amount of people, places, cultures, etc. that make up the world we live in.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.