El TANGO DEL VIUDO y su espejo deformante

THE TANGO OF THE WIDOWER And Its Distorting Mirror
More than 50 years have passed since Raúl Ruiz – always a welcome guest at the Berlinale Forum – worked on his first feature in Santiago de Chile. He never finished it. In 1973, the military putsch forced him into exile, and the film reels only turned up much later in a cinema. Valeria Sarmiento – director, and Ruiz’s widow – took on the footage. Deaf consultants helped her reconstruct the dialogue by reading the actors’ lips. The story centres on Mr. Iriarte, whose life is turned upside down by the death of his wife. She haunts him at night, her wigs scurry around the parquet floor, and eventually even the devil himself makes an appearance in this playful, mirrored arrangement. El tango del viudo y su espejo deformante moves backwards and forwards in time, as though yesterday were tomorrow and today 50 years ago: the ideal opening film for the Berlinale Forum’s anniversary year.
by Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento
with Ruben Sotoconil, Sergio Hernández, Claudia Paz, Chamila Rodríguez, Luis Alarcón, Néstor Cantillana, Shenda Román, Gabriela Arancibia, Delfina Guzmán, Marcela Golzio, Luis Vilches, Gabriel Urzua
Chile 2020 Spanish 64’ Black/White


  • Ruben Sotoconil (Widower)
  • Sergio Hernández (Widower (voice))
  • Claudia Paz (Ghost)
  • Chamila Rodríguez (Ghost (voice))
  • Luis Alarcón (Silva)
  • Néstor Cantillana (Silva (voice))
  • Shenda Román (Lola)
  • Gabriela Arancibia (Lola (voice))
  • Delfina Guzmán (Ana)
  • Marcela Golzio (Ana (voice))
  • Luis Vilches (Nephew)
  • Gabriel Urzua (Nephew (voice))


Director Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento
Written by Raúl Ruiz, Omar Saavedra Santis, Valeria Sarmiento
Cinematography Diego Bonacina
Editing Galut Alarcón
Music Jorge Arriagada
Sound Design Galut Alarcón
Production Design Raúl Ruiz
Casting Raúl Ruiz, Chamila Rodríguez
Producers Chamila Rodriguez, Galut Alarcón
Executive Producer Chamila Rodríguez

Raúl Ruiz

Born in Puerto Montt, Chile in 1941. He studied Law and Theology. While studying, Ruiz wrote numerous plays and television scripts. After the 1973 coup in Chile, he moved to France, where he made the majority of his more than 100 films for cinema and television. Several of Ruiz's films have been shown at the Forum and the Competition of the Berlinale. He died in Paris in 2011.


1963 La maleta; 20 min. 1964 El regreso; 40 min. 1968 Tres tristes tigres; 100 min. 1972 La expropiación (The Expropriation / Die Enteignung); 60 min., Forum 1990 1975 Diálogos de exiliados (Dialogues of Exiles); 100 min. 1976 El cuerpo rapartido y el mondo al reves (Mensch verstreut und Welt verkehrt); 67 min., Forum 1984 1979 L’hypothèse du tableau volé; 66 min. 1981 O Território (The Territory); 104 min. 1983 Berenice; 105 min., Forum 1984 1984 La présence réelle; 64 min., Forum 1985 · Manuel na ilhas das maravilhas (Manuel auf den Wunderinseln); 152 min., Forum 1985 1985 Richard III; 135 min., Competition (Special Screening) 1986 1986 Mémoire des apparences; 100 min., Forum 1987 1992 L'oeil qui ment (Dark at Noon); 100 min. 1994 Fado majeur et mineur; 110 min. 1996 Trois vies et une seule mort (Three Lives and Only One Death / Drei Leben und ein Tod); 123 min. 1997 Généalogies d’un crime (Genealogies of a Crime / Genealogien eines Verbrechens); 114 min. 1999 Le temps retrouvé (Time Regained / Die wiedergefundene Zeit); 162 min. 2003 Ce jour-là (That Day); 105 min. 2006 Klimt; 98 min. 2010 Mistérios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon / Die Geheimnisse von Lissabon); 312 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020

Valeria Sarmiento

Born in Valparaíso, Chile in 1948. She studied at the School of Film and Television of the University of Chile in Santiago de Chile. Sarmiento worked on numerous artistic projects together with her husband Raúl Ruiz, and was also responsible for editing many of his films. She has also made over 20 documentaries and narrative films.


1972 Un sueño como de colores · Poesía popular: La teoría y la práctica; 20 min. · Los minuteros; 15 min. 1973 Nueva Canción Chilena; 20 min. 1975 La dueña de casa; 23 min. 1979 Le mal du pays; 18 min. · Gens de nulle part, gens de toutes parts; 60 min. 1982 El hombre cuando es hombre (A Man When He Is a Man); 66 min. 1984 Notre mariage; 95 min. 1991 Amelia Lópes O'Neill; 95 min., Competition 1991 1992 Latin Women Beat in California · El planeta de los niños (Planet of the Children); 62 min. 1995 Elle; 86 min. 1998 Carlos Fuentes: Un voyage dans le temps; 45 min. · L'inconnu de Strasbourg; 100 min. 1999 Mon premier french cancan; 52 min. 2002 Rosa la China; 102 min. 2004 Au Louvre avec Miguel Barceló; 25 min. 2008 Secretos (Secrets); 85 min. 2012 Lines of Wellington (Lines of Wellington – Sturm über Portugal); 151 min. 2014 Diario de mi residencia en Chile: María Graham (Maria Graham: Diary of a Residence in Chile); 118 min. 2018 O Caderno Negro (The Black Book); 113 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020