Combat d'amour en songe (2000)

Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - Chile , France , Portugal   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

Director Raul Ruiz has said, "My films are not fiction films but about fiction," and that is certainly true of the beguilingly complex and goofy Love Torn in a Dream. The film overlaps a surfeit of amusing narratives, with several cast members in multiple roles. While it's hard to miss the director's visual wit or his usual clever use of non-synchronous sound, some of his verbal playfulness will be lost in translation for those who don't speak French, and the plots become very difficult (intentionally so) to follow. "A treasure map is a treasure," says one character in the film, and so we're asked to accept Ruiz's mind-bogglingly multi-tiered narrative, not for where it leads us, not in the hope of some sort of resolution, but for the pleasures it offers along the long, twisted journey. Chief among those are the sweetly engaging performance of Ruiz regular Melvil Poupaud, as several lost heroes, and the lovely cinematography of Acácio de Almeida. There's a playfulness to the film that belies Ruiz's more profound themes about the nature of identity, image, and narrative, and despite the fact that it grows wearisome at over two hours, on first viewing the film seems more slight than it may actually be.