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One of the most important films of the seventies, The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting began as a documentary on writer Pierre Klossowski but soon became, in Ruiz's words, "a fiction about theory." A pompous art collector offers a new history of western art through a guided tour of a fantastic gallery of "living images," all created by the "forgotten" artist, Tonnerr. As our guide drones away about aspects of his collection, the human figures begin to smirk and fidget, emphasizing their play-acting and introducing a new level of spectating into the narrative. Structured as a kind of never-ending detective thriller, Ruiz's film is a daring, fascinating meditation on the relationship between words and images, between works of art and their description or interpretation. Photographed by Sacha Vierny. In French with English subtitles.

Raul Ruiz---France---1978---67 mins.