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283 Ratings

Three Crowns of the Sailor

Les trois couronnes du matelot

Directed by Raúl Ruiz
France, 1983
Drama, Fantasy, Avant-Garde


In one of Raúl Ruiz’s defining movies, a drunken sailor recounts his life story to a murderous student.

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Three Crowns of the Sailor Directed by Raúl Ruiz

Critics reviews

The seduction works in counterpoint to the opacity of the dialogue. The hypnotic voiceovers, which evoke B-movies by Jacques Tourneur or Edgar G. Ulmer, envelop us in the illusion of a coherent narrative, whereas there is only the surface of the screen. As a character in Three Crowns of the Sailor says: “The world has two dimensions . . . the world is a lie.” In this sublime film a sailor condemned to eternal exile searches for truth, for a meaning to his life.
December 09, 2016
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This mid-period masterpiece by the Chilean expatriate unfolds over the course of single evening through a series of first-person flashbacks, nesting the fantastical within the historical in feverish, quintessentially Ruizian fashion… Crystalizing many of the sensorial flourishes he’d soon turn into shorthand, Ruiz pushes past the constants of verisimilitude only to arrive at one his most gut-wrenching finales.
March 11, 2015
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Three Crowns of the Sailor stands in an ironic, undefined category of its own. The film elegantly plays with a bevy of traditional narrative structures – hence the pleasure and fascination it creates. Its apparent timelessness comes from its central trope: the immortal story, a self-generating fiction.
January 01, 1985
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