L'Ile au trésor

Not so much an adaptation as an extended riff on a Robert Louis Stevenson standard. It begins with young Jim Hawkins - who's really called Jonathan, played in excruciating dubbed American by the angelic Poupaud in the English language version - watching his favourite TV serial, and then making the rest up from life when a power failure cuts him off in mid-episode. The hotel where he lives with his ill-matched parents (Castel and Karina) is visited by a motley crew of salt-encrusted sea-wrecks, and by Léaud as Jim's mentor in narrative, or as his alter ego. Midway, the film turns into something like a traditional seafaring yarn, and takes a decided downturn from the wildly artificed first half. But through the morass of entangled story, false clues, and literary references to Borges, Melville and quite possibly Thomas Pynchon, it weaves a dense web of allusions that carry it away from straight narrative into a strange terrain that's part dream, part psychoanalysis, part film theory, and several parts piss-take. Delayed for five years by litigation, cut down from the original four-hour conception, it's extraordinary, if patchy.

Release details

Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Paolo Branco, Raúl Ruiz
Screenwriter: Raúl Ruiz
Cast: Melvil Poupaud
Martin Landau
Vic Tayback
Lou Castel
Jeffrey Kime
Anna Karina
Jean-François Stévenin
Charles Schmidt
Jean-Pierre Léaud
Pedro Armendariz Jr
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