La maleta

La Maleta (English: The Suitcase) is a 1963 Chilean experimental drama short film written and directed by Raúl Ruiz[1] based on the Chilean play of the same name that originally premiered at the Petit Rex Theater in 1962 by theater director Víctor Jara. It was Ruiz's first film as a director and was produced, repurposed and distributed through the Experimental Cinema program of the University of Chile.[2]

La maleta
Film poster
Directed byRaúl Ruiz
Produced byRaúl Ruiz
Written byRaúl Ruiz
StarringGastón Duvauchelle
Héctor Duvauchelle
Orieta Escamez
Gonzalo Palta
Music byJorge Arriagada
CinematographyEnrique Urteaga
Edited byInti Briones
Experimental Cinema of the University of Chile
Distributed byExperimental Cinema of the University of Chile
Release date
  • 1963 (1963)
Running time
20 minutes


The story centers around a man traveling with a large suitcase on his back. Inside, a smaller man is found with similar physical traits as the owner of the suitcase. Subsequently, the owner seems physically exhausted from carrying the suitcase, and the man inside relieves him from this pain.[3]


  • Gastón Duvauchelle
  • Héctor Duvauchelle
  • Orieta Escamez
  • Gonzalo Palta


The short was shot on 16mm film, and was intended by Ruiz to be a full-feature film with the help of fellow filmmaker Sergio Bravo. With Bravo backing out of the project and merely giving him 20 rolls of reversible 16mm film, Ruiz ran into much difficulty on producing the entire feature, and settled on a 20 minute short.[4] Considered to be an unfinished short,[5] the film was presumably lost for decades until in 2007 it was re-discovered within the University of Chile under the false category of "French film." The film was later re-edited through the permission of the university by Inti Briones, and music was added by Jorge Arriagada and officially premiered exclusively at the 2008 Valdivia Film Festival nearly 45 years after its initial production date. The film is now being preserved in the Cineteca of the University of Chile.[6]

Critical reception

Becoming a "diamond in the rough" after Ruiz's status as a film auteur was established, the film received positive reviews upon release in 2008. In an article discussing Ruiz's many works, an online website called The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre labeled the film a "unique surreal and symbolic idea," as well as suggesting that the smaller man is a reflection of "possessions possess[ing] him as they take on a life of their own," and he put the film under the category of "Of Some Interest."[7]


  1. "Le Cinéma de Raoul Ruiz: La Maleta". Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  2. " » La Maleta (1963)". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  3. "La maleta (Raúl Ruiz, 1963) : Largometrajes de ficción" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  4. " » La Maleta (1963)". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  5. "ROUGE Index 2". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  6. " » La Maleta (1963)". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  7. "The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre: Raoul Ruiz". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
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