That Day (2003) - Raoul Ruiz
Taking place in Switzerland in the near future, Raoul Ruiz's That Day opens on LIvia, a young woman sitting near the roadside of a field, nestled under a tree. Livia is mentally ill and after interacting with a group of prognosticators, she is expecting the following day to be the most important day of her life. Livia's delusional vision couldn't be further from the truth, as her step father schemes to have Livia killed, intent on inheriting the business empire that currently resides under Livia's name. Concoting a devious plan, the father releases Pointpoirot, a murderous mental patient from the asylum, leading him directly to the house where LIvia is all by herself. Unfortunately for the father, Pointpoirot and Livia have a lot in common due to their mental issues and delusional visions from above. Raoul Ruiz's That Day is a bizarre and absurd black comedy that offers a unique mediatation on death, money and false spirtuality that is strangely Ruiz's most accessible film. That isn't exactly saying too much about That Day's accessibility, but the absurd, playful tone makes the film better off in that regard than most of his other work. The film jumps between clever and subtle humor regarding most of the other characters, but the relaionship between Livia and Pointpoirot that unfolds is absurdist madness at its finest. Pointpoirot and LIvia become infauated with one and other but every once and awhile Pointpoirot becomes crazed, attempting to kill Livia, needing to slaughter someone to fulfil his needs. With Livia being her own brand of crazy the two are able to look past their faults, forming one of the most absurd and strange love stories commited to celluloid. Their performances arent over the top, almost subdued, but how Ruiz captures their false spirtuality is compelling and layered. Ruiz's film features people who are all driven by something, with the family driven by greed and our romantic couple by false idols. While not as visually striking as much of Ruiz's work, That Day is a beautifully orchestrated film where his style is very prevalent throughout. Ruiz's signature use of foreground and background in compositions is on display as much as ever, and the camera movements were very impressive as well. Being a playful, absurdist comedy the filmmaker doesn't seem very interested in inserting his ideals, rather presenting a strange story of the insanity of humankind.
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