The Ruination Of Men

Arturo Ripstein’s 2000 absurdist comedy in black and white, sharply scripted by Paz Alicia Garciadiego, begins with a peasant being beaten to death by two of his friends. Initially the reasons for this are quite obscure, but the motivations and back story gradually emerge as his friends, his wife, and his lover bicker over his corpse, both at his house and the morgue. This is the most interesting Ripstein feature I’ve seen, and though it resembles a play in certain respects, it’s energized by an able cast and the filmmaker’s vigorous mise en scene. 98 min. (JR)

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