A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : OFF TO FRANCE : At Least They Understood the Dialogue
French movie critics and writers have been conscientiously following Peter Sellars’ “The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez,” the no-dialogue, Expressionistic film starring Mikhail Baryshnikov that had its world premiere in Paris.
Sellars’ movie, the story of a Wall Street trader, his girlfriend, his roommate and two beggars, drew a host of full-page feature stories in French publications, but reviews were mixed. Critics’ comments ranged from raves to raving mad. One of Paris’ main critics called the movie “the anti-'Blade Runner’ ” and compared it to David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart.” The prestigious Cahiers du Cinema film magazine was less enthusiastic, calling the film “an autistic movie.” Another critic thought Sellars fell into “useless morbidity and cloying exhibitionism.”
“The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez” came out the same week Sellars is in town for the French premiere of John Adams’ contemporary opera “Nixon in China.” Despite the French media’s interest in the film, it had only a one-week run in a small movie house in Paris’ Latin Quarter. This would make Sellars’ movie what the French call a succes d’estime --a hit among the few and the chosen, or a movie that many write and talk about but few actually go see.
The film will have its U.S premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.