Jan 14, 2008

20th January 2008; Screening of George Sluizer's The Vanishing

fiendishley intelligent..chilling and perverse, spell-binding,
a gripping psychological thriller. -
 New York Times

. . . . moving; its rigor isn’t alienating, and its symetries are
evocative rather than merely ingenious .The Vanishing has the
but unshakable poetry of nightmare.
The New Yorker



A Film by George Sluizer
Year : 1988   Country : Netherlands / France
Dutch / French with English sub titles.
Run time : 107 min
20th Sunday 2008 ; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital auditorium, Ganapthy, Coimbatore

The Vanishing

This stylish Dutch movie creates one of the most frightening movie monsters in recent history. An unforgettably chilling psychodrama which twists the slenderest of plots into a hellish exploration of human potential. On a driving holiday in France, a young Dutch couple, Saskia and Rex (Ter Steege and Bervoets), stop at a service station to refuel. What happens after that will keep you in a world of sheer suspense till the end .Three years after Saskia's disappearance , an embittered Rex finds himself drawn into a nightmarish relationship with Raymond Lemorne (Donnadieu), who via taunting postcards promises to reveal the fate of his lost love. Consumed by his desire for knowledge, Rex resolves to confront his nemesis and end the Nietzschean conflict of wills in which he is embroiled..

Adapted from Tim Krabbé's novel The Golden Egg, this is a beautifully understated study of obsession that investigates the edges of rationality and the destructive capacity of idealistic devotion. At the heart of its icy spell is Donnadieu's utterly plausible evocation of everyday madness, a resolutely banal picture of evil. Sluizer's direction is seamless throughout, effortlessly juggling domesticity and damnation as it ploughs inexorably towards an appalling dénouement.

How Raymond's experiments tie into Saskia's disappearance makes for a fascinating game that eventually takes on cat-and-mouse proportions — but does not go down the roads you will expect.

The performances are uniformly excellent, with Johanna Ter Steege particularly affecting as Saskia, whose spirit hovers over the proceedings even during long absences from the screen. And Gene Bervoets as her tormented husband and Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu as Raymond are also very good.

George Sluizer's "The Vanishing" has a horrifying everydayness that makes it feel close-in and inescapable. It's a thriller, but it doesn't work you over with the usual genre manipulations, the standard tightening and loosening of its grip on your emotions. Its pulse is carefully measured, yet the surface blandness is all the more disturbing because its features are so familiar, so like your own life, so searingly plausible.

George Sluizer

Director, producer and screenwriter George Sluizer is Dutch, but was born in Paris in 1932. He attended the IDHEC film academy in Paris. He made his first film in 1961, HOLD BACK THE SEA, a documentary that won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

During the 1960s until the early 1980s he produced and directed many documentaries and TV specials. He also worked as a producer on numerous films, including Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO and CANCER RISING with Rutger Hauer.
As a writer/director he made his first feature film in 1971, JOAO AND THE KNIFE, which was followed by TWICE A WOMAN with Anthony Perkins and Bibi Andersson, and RED DESERT PENITENTIARY.

With SPOORLOOS (THE VANISHING) in 1988 he received worldwide recognition. The film won him many awards and was the Dutch entry for the 1989 Academy Awards. In 1992 he directed a remake of THE VANISHING for 20th Century Fox, starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock.

In 1991 Sluizer directed an adaptation of Bruce Chatwin’s novel UTZ, starring Armin Mueller-Stahl (Best Actor in Berlin 1992), and in 1993 DARK BLOOD, kept unfinished because of the death of its leading actor River Phoenix. CRIMETIME followed in 1995, a thriller about the dangerous effects of reality TV, starring Stephen Baldwin and Pete Postlethwaite. In 1996, Sluizer produced and co-directed the nostalgic comedy DYING TO GO HOME and in 1997 he directed THE COMMISSIONER with John Hurt and Rosana Pastor. And in 2002 THE STONERAFT based on the novel by Nobel Prize laureate José Saramago.
During his career, Sluizer has directed films in six different languages and regards himself as a truly European director. A master of the thriller genre, Sluizer is known for his unique signature, his “going to the edge” and “search for one’s limits”.

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