If "La recta provincia" is Raul Ruiz's love letter to his native land after 34 years away, it's a remarkably tepid one.

If “La recta provincia” is Raul Ruiz’s love letter to his native land after 34 years away, it’s a remarkably tepid one. Inspired by the folklore of Chile, pic reps a tediously meandering wander accompanied by stock characters more likely to have meaning for anthropologists than for general auds. Perhaps the cheap HD lensing reproduced better when broadcast as a four-part series on Chilean TV, but bigscreen format does the visuals no favors. Pic is strictly for Ruiz completists with time on their hands.

Film is structured around mother Rosalba (Belgica Castro, doyenne of Chilean actresses) and half-wit son Paulino (Ignacio Aguero), caretakers of an estate who discover a bone and set out to find the rest of the skeleton and give it a proper burial. Along the way, they’re alternately guided and tormented by an assortment of devils with their own tales to tell. Occasional moments of humor, such as the Virgin Mary adding “conceived without sin” whenever she’s addressed by name, are repeated so often they become tedious. Poor digital quality results in blurred images each time the camera moves, while lighting is either muddy or harsh.

La recta provincia

Chile-France

Production

An R.R. Producciones presentation of a Margo Films (France)/R.R. Producciones, TVN (Chile) production. Produced by Christian Aspee. Directed, written by Raul Ruiz.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Inti Briones; editor, Valeria Sarmiento, Beatrice Clerico; music, Jose Arriagada, Angel Parra; production designer, Soyanne Muzard; costume designer, Lola Cabezas. Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (Cinema 2007), Oct. 18, 2007. Running time: 160 MIN.

With

Belgica Castro, Ignacio Aguero, Angel Parra, Javiera Parra, Camila Rodriguez, Hector Aguilar, Lia Celeste, Arturo Rossel, Mario Miller, Francisco Reyes, Alejandro Trejo, Carlos Flores, Ernesto Malbran. Pablo Schwarz, Macarena Teke, Loren Prieto, Carolina Cuturrufo, Maca Silva, Paz Martinez, Elvis Fuentes, Sebastian Layseca, Alejandro Sieveking.
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