Director: Arturo Ripstein

Country: Mexico

Year: 1986

Duration: 130 min

Languages: Spanish / subtitled in English

Original name: El imperio de la fortuna

Category: , ,

Dionisio sleeps on the floor in front of a bed, his face bathed in a chain of light’s incessant red on-off, until the cock crows. He’s handicapped, performing a menial job for the small town he’s living in with his mother: he’s its crier, rolling his little drum while announcing matters of general interest like upcoming movie screenings. Dionisio loves cockfighting. And so, one day, Lorenzo Benavides hands him a rooster – so that he can kill and eat it. Instead, Dionisio nurses it back to health, trains it, turns it into a strong fighter. Soon, he begins an affair with Benavides’ lover La Caponera, who becomes something of his good luck charm – and finally his wife. But once La Caponera becomes bored by her stale and tame new life, while Lady Luck deserts Dionisio, tragedy gets ready to strike… Or is it really tragedy, when things end more or less the way they started?

The Realm of Fortune is in one way a watershed in the cinema of Arturo Ripstein, being his first film written by Paz Alicia Garciadiego, his wife. Beyond that, it’s another profound, truly Ripsteinian meditation on the foibles of destiny – or maybe the pitfalls of a society that suggests to the simple of soul that money can change the course of their lives, when in reality it only plays into the hands of those who have it, and who’ll always have the means to keep it? Destiny is what people interpret as such…

Olaf Möller