Cinema Guild Acquires U.S. Rights to Raul Ruiz's 'The Wandering Soap Opera'

Courtesy of Locarno Film Festival

The late Chilean master's 1990 unfinished film was completed by his widow Valeria Sarmiento and premiered in Locarno in 2017.

Cinema Guild has announced the acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to The Wandering Soap Opera (La telenovela errante), co-directed by the late Chilean master Raúl Ruiz with his widow, Valeria Sarmiento.

The film made its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in 2017 and had its U.S. premiere as part of Film Society of Lincoln Center’s retrospective of Ruiz’s work last year. It will open at Anthology Film Archives in New York City on May 17 before expanding to theaters across the country.

Shot in Super-16mm by Ruiz in 1990 but unfinished until it was completed by his wife and collaborator Valeria Sarmiento in 2017, The Wandering Soap Opera was the result of six days of acting workshops and shooting by Ruiz in his native Chile in 1990, where he returned after a long exile in France following the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

Produced by Poetastros and restored in partnership with Duke University, the film features a series of vignettes that spoof on telenovela conventions while reflecting Ruiz's feelings upon returning to his home country, and was described as a "frequently hilarious and more than a little absurd look at the political soul of Chile in a time of transition" in Boyd van Hoeij's review for The Hollywood Reporter.

“The opportunity to distribute another film by Raúl Ruiz is an unexpected gift and an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said Cinema Guild Director of Distribution Peter Kelly. “The Wandering Soap Opera is free-wheeling and funny, a must-see for cinephiles everywhere,” he added.

The deal was negotiated by Cinema Guild's Peter Kelly along with Jirafa Distribución’s Bruno Bettati.