Life Is a Dream (1986 film)

Life is a Dream (French: Mémoire des apparences) is a 1987 French art film written and directed by Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz. It is an oneiric, metafictional, "neo-Baroque" work about the Chilean dictatorship, exile, dream, cinema and mnemonics. It was inspired by Frances A. Yates' book The Art of Memory (1966) and features characters and scenes from Life Is a Dream (1635), a Spanish Golden Age play Ruiz had directed at the Avignon Festival in 1986, in addition to pastiches of B-movies and serials of the 1930s and 1940s.[1]

Life is a Dream
Film poster
Directed byRaúl Ruiz
Produced byJean-Luc Larguier
Written byRaúl Ruiz (based on Pedro Calderón de la Barca)
StarringSylvain Thirolle
Music byJorge Arriagada
CinematographyJacques Bouquin
Edited byMartine Bouquin
Rudolfo Wedeles
Release date
  • 1987 (1987)
Running time
103 minutes


  • Sylvain Thirolle as Ignacio Vega
  • Roch Leibovici
  • Bénédicte Sire as Astrea
  • Laurence Cortadellas
  • Jean-Bernard Guillard as Prince Segismundo
  • Jean-Pierre Agazar
  • Alain Halle-Halle
  • Jean-François Lapalus
  • Alain Rimoux

Further reading

  • Cisneros, James (2006); "The figure of memory in Chilean cinema: Patricio Guzmán and Raúl Ruiz" in Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 15, no. 1, pp. 59-75.
  • Goddard, Michael (2013); The Cinema of Raúl Ruiz: Impossible Cartographies. Wallflower Press, pp. 89-93.
  • Kaup, Monika (2012); "Antidictatorship Neobaroque Cinema: Raúl Ruiz's Mémoire des apparences and María Luisa Bemberg's Yo, la peor de todas" in Neobaroque in the Americas: Alternative Modernities in Literature, Visual Art, and Film. University of Virginia Press, pp. 183-242.
  • Marinescu, Andreea (2014); "The Dream of Memory in Raúl Ruiz’s Memories of Appearances: Life Is a Dream" in Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring), pp. 7-31.


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