Review: ‘Jungle Rudy: Chronicle Of A Family’

An elusive cipher of a man is resuscitated via correspondence, audio recordings and homemovie footage in the brooding mystery "Jungle Rudy: Chronicle of a Family."

An elusive cipher of a man is resuscitated via correspondence, audio recordings and homemovie footage in the brooding mystery “Jungle Rudy: Chronicle of a Family.” Pic tracks the life of prominent Hague banker’s son Rudy Truffino after he went off the grid in 1953, finding a spiritual rainforest home in the shadow of Venezuela’s spectacular Angel Falls. Docu fests will spark to helmer Rob Smits’ thoughtfully imaginative treatment (“Rudy” won the editing prize at the 2006 Netherlands Film Festival), with small-screen sales promising.

Ruggedly handsome “Jungle Rudy” married “good sport” Austrian tourist Gerty and sired three daughters while building a successful high-end resort, whose registry of famous adventurers included Pierre Trudeau, Neil Armstrong and Prince Charles. Yet apparent restlessness prompted this womanizing free spirit to wander once more; daughter Gaby, who valiantly keeps the camp running 12 years after his lonely 1994 death, says, “I pretend he’s on vacation.” There are no clear answers, only a tantalizing mystery made more poignant by snatches of Alfredo Catalani’s opera “La Wally.” Tech credits are crisp, deftly blending archival media and contempo sequences of the magnificent camp surroundings into a seamless whole.

Jungle Rudy: Chronicle Of A Family

Netherlands

Production

A Submarine production, in association with NPS Television. (International sales: Submarine, Amsterdam.) Produced by Femke Wolting, Bruno Felix. Directed by Rob Smits. Written by Stefanie de Brouwer.

Crew

Camera (color), Smits; editors, Menno Boerema, Albert Elings, Eugenie Jansen, Chris van Oers; music, Smits; sound, Elings. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, June 18, 2007. (In SilverDocs, Netherlands, Taiwan Intl. Documentary film festivals.) Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Rudy Truffino, Gabriela Truffino de Jimenez, Eliane Truffino Koppenwalner, Sabina Truffino Koppenwalner, Juan Gabriel Truffino de Jimenez. (Dutch, German, Spanish, English dialogue)
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