• The Wandering Soap Opera

The Wandering Soap Opera

a film by Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento
2017, 80 minutes



Filmed by Chilean master Raúl Ruiz in 1990 but left unfinished until it was completed by his wife and collaborator Valeria Sarmiento in 2017, The Wandering Soap Opera is a dreamily interconnected series of vignettes that spoof on telenovela conventions while reflecting Ruiz's feelings upon returning to his native Chile after more than 15 years away. In one episode, a man seduces a woman by showing her his muscles, which are actually slabs of raw meat slapped into her hand. Later, the man has a gun pulled on him when he accuses a poet of plagiarism. Meanwhile, through the television screen, five women have lost their husbands after an earthquake and embrace a better future together. All along, back and forth across screens, people are watching.

Shot in gorgeous Super 16mm and featuring one zany performance after another from a cast having the time of their lives, The Wandering Soap Opera is a glorious sendup of the telenovela, which, at the end of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, Ruiz called the very best lens through which to understand "Chilean reality."


"The purest and deepest of cinema's dreams. I could luxuriate in this film's environs forever! The completion of this work is a major event in the history of fun!"
- Guy Maddin

"Clearly relishing the stylistic leeway afforded by the genre—the film’s prismatic color palette and exaggerated decoupage provide enough aesthetic pleasures to make one mourn yet again the absence of one of cinema’s great stylists—Ruiz takes as fanciful an approach to the film’s visual design as he does its object of critique."
- Jordan Cronk , Film Comment

"A gift for Ruiz fans! In a somewhat Borgesian paradox, which seems entirely characteristic, the film can be seen as a sort of sequel to the director’s actual final film, Night Across the Street"
- Jonathan Romney, Film Comment

"Essential viewing for fans of South American cinema and Ruiz’s cerebral absurdism."
- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

Press Materials

High-Res Stills, Poster and Press Kit
Press Release

Where to watch

Opening In Theaters May 17


Jun 7: Laemmle Theaters - Los Angeles, CA
Jun 22-Jul 7: Time & Space Ltd - Hudson, NY
Jun 28-July 4: Digital Gym Cinema - San Diego, CA

Jul 2: Parkway Theatre - Baltimore, MD
July 22: Northwest Film Center - Portland, OR

Aug 8-9: Cleveland Cinematheque - Cleveland, OH
Aug 29: Oklahoma City Museum of Art - Oklahoma City, OK

Sep 26: WUD Film Committee - Madison, WI

Festivals & Awards

Official Selection - Rotterdam International Film Festival
Official Selection - Locarno International Film Festival
Official Selection - Viennale


Related Films


Night Across The Street

Raúl Ruiz





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