21. The Vanishing

June 18, 2016

My guest for this month is Herb van der Poll, and he’s joined me to discuss the film I chose for him, the 1988 Dutch–French film The Vanishing. You can follow the show on Twitter @cinemagadfly.

Show notes:

  • The director, George Sluizer, didn’t really direct much else besides this film and its remake
  • The soundtrack definitely has a Tears for Fears vibe to it, which is 100% ok with me
  • Herb checked with his Dutch parents to make sure we pronounced Spoorloos correctly
  • Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu is basically perfect as the villain in this film
  • If you enjoy this film, you’d probably also love Alfred Hitchock’s The Lady Vanishes
  • The actress who plays the second girlfriend Lieneke, Gwen Eckhaus, was randomly in a television series in the Netherlands called Spoorloos verdwenen, which I assume is unrelated
  • Getting a compliment on your film from Stanley Kubrick is a big deal to me
  • The first girlfriend, Saskia, is played by Johanna ter Steege. I think I would have enjoyed her in a Kubrick film
  • I want to be very clear that this film is a billion times better than The Blair Witch Project
  • Apparently Curious George is alternately called “Slimme Sjors” and “Nieuwsgierig Aapje” in the Netherlands
  • This film is really nothing like Requiem for a Dream or Audition
  • Seriously, please don’t watch the remake, it’s not even fun ironically
  • I don’t know how much we can blame the remake on the adapted screenplay by Todd Graff, but I would hazard a guess that it’s a lot
  • A more subtle mistake was the changing of cinematographers from the sublime work of Toni Kuhn to the mediocre adaptation by Peter Suschitzky
  • The changes go way, way beyond those of Brazil’s Love Conquers All cut. Also, at least that one includes the entire original film to enjoy
  • Jeff Bridges is usually pretty good, so I’m not sure what happened here. I tend to believe Herb’s Silence of the Lambs theory
  • Milton from Office Space was played by the incomparable Stephen Root
  • R.I.P.D. is really an underrated example of good acting in a terrible film
  • Jeff Bridges is truly terrible here, while Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock are just really bad
  • This film was two years before The Net, but a year after Love Potion No. 9, so I’m not sure how famous Bullock was
  • Nancy Travis is terrible as well, but her character does provide a lot of the unintentional comedy, so I mind less
  • The award Blood Simple got was the Mel Novikoff award
  • Peter Becker and Jonathon Turell didn’t start the Criterion Collection, but they do run it today
  • To my mind, the Coen Brothers, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Blood Simple definitely belong in the collection
  • I am irrationally excited for the arrival of FilmStruck, and just wish it was here already

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