The Vanishing (1988 film)

The Vanishing (1988 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Vanishing

image_size =
caption = Original Dutch film poster
director = George Sluizer
producer = Anne Lordon George Sluizer
writer = Novel:
Tim Krabbé
George Sluizer
Tim Krabbé
narrator =
starring = Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu
Gene Bervoets
music = Hennie Vrienten
cinematography = Toni Kuhn
editing = George Sluizer Lin Friedman
distributor = Argos Films
released = The Netherlands:
October 27,1988
December 20,1989
United States:
runtime = 107 min.
country = Netherlands France
language = French Dutch
budget = ƒ 250,000 ($165,000)
gross =
website =
amg_id = 1:52212
imdb_id = 0096163

"The Vanishing" (Dutch: "Spoorloos") is a French/Netherlands film adaptation of the novel "The Golden Egg" by Tim Krabbé, released October 27, 1988. Directed by George Sluizer, the film is about a young Dutch girl named Saskia Wagter (Johanna ter Steege) who disappears from a rest stop along a highway in rural France; her lover, Rex Hofmann (Gene Bervoets), cannot accept her disappearance and embarks on an obsessive search for her spanning years.

On the film's American release in 1990, "The Vanishing" received great critical acclaim from film critics. Sluizer later remade the film for an English version in 1993; but the remake was poorly received.cite web |url= |title=The Vanishing (1993) |accessdate=2008-08-10 |work= |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes |date=]


A Dutch couple, Rex Hofman (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia Wagter (Johanna ter Steege), are on a cycling holiday in France. As they are driving, Saskia tells Rex of a recurring dream that she had, in which she is drifting through space in a golden egg. she tells Rex that this time there was someone else in another golden egg, and that if they were to collide, everything would be over. she said that being stuck in the golden egg was terrifying lonliness. Their car runs out of gas and they are stranded inside a tunnel. They quarrel for a while, but make up and eventually get going again.

Later they stop at a gas station. Here Saskia goes into the shop for drinks and never returns. Rex waits, getting more worried and nervous by the minute as Saskia does not emerge. He soon starts to question people if they have seen her, but no one has any idea as to where she is. The only clue he has is a blurred photo he took of the surrounding area, in which he can just barely make out her red hair in a group of people next to the gas station entrance.

Rex cannot accept his loss and three years after her vanishing he still compulsively looks for her. He has a new girlfriend, but she is so fed up with Rex's obsession to understand Saskia's ultimate fate that she leaves him. His quest even results in him explaining her story on television, revealing that he had the same dream as Saskia about the golden egg, and this has inspired him to continue searching.

In a series of intermittent flashbacks, Raymond Lemorne (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), a respectable, though quirky, middle-class chemistry teacher, the kidnapper of Saskia, appears both alone and with his family, intricately plotting and planning his scheme to capture a random woman.

Eventually, Raymond, fascinated by Rex's fanatical compulsion to know what happened to Saskia, confronts Rex and admits to her kidnapping. He explains that he felt the need to test himself, to know whether he deserved others' high opinion of him, by finding out whether he could commit what for him was the ultimate act of evil. Rex's ultimate curiosity concerning Saskia keeps him from killing Raymond, which Raymond is fully aware of. Raymond finally invites Rex to the very same park and gas station where Saskia disappeared, and simply tells Rex that if he drinks a cup of coffee, which he tells Rex is spiked, he will experience what happened to Saskia. After tormenting himself in indecision, Rex eventually drinks the concoction, falls unconscious, and wakes up to find that he has been buried alive, the same fate that Saskia met. For Raymond, a claustrophobe, this is his worst nightmare come true.



*Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu as Raymond Lemorne: a French middle-class man, who at a young age discovers he is a sociopath. To prove to himself that he sees no difference in right and wrong he attempts to kidnap and murder young women including Saskia.
*Gene Bervoets as Rex Hofman: a Dutch traveler who is travels with his girlfriend Saskia Wagter through France. Three years after Saskia vanishes at a service station, Rex is still searching for her if only to find out what happened to her.
*Johanna ter Steege as Saskia Wagter: Saskia is the Dutch girlfriend of Rex Hofman who travels with him through France until she goes missing at the service station.
*Gwen Eckhaus as Lieneke: the new girlfriend of Rex Hofman, three years after Saskia has gone missing.
*Bernadette Le Saché as Simone Lemorne: The wife of Raymond. Like the rest of her family, she is unfamiliar with Raymond's sociopath ways.
*Tania Latarjet as Denise: One of the two daughters of Simone and Benadette.
*Lucille Glenn as Gabrielle: Another one the daughters of Simone and Benadette.

Release and reception

"The Vanishing" was released in the Netherlands on October 27, 1988. It was released to acclaim and the producers George Sluizer and Anne Lordon received the Golden Calf for the Best Full Length-feature film at the Netherlands Film Festival in 1988.cite web |url= |title= Golden Calf winners earlier editions |accessdate=2008-08-10 |work= |publisher=Netherlands Film Festival |year=1988 ] "The Vanishing" was the Dutch submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988. The film was disqualified because the Academy determined that there was too much French dialog in the film to meet the requirements. AMPAS deemed that the film was unsuitable to represent the Netherlands. The Dutch declined to send another film, leaving them unrepresented for the first time since 1972.cite web | title = History of the Academy Awards - Page 1| publisher = Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences | url = | accessdate = 2008-07-29] The film was released in France on December 20, 1989 under the title "L'Homme Qui Voulait Savoir" (English: "The Man Who Wanted to Know").cite web | title = L'homme qui voulait savoir
publisher = | url = | accessdate = 2008-07-29

"The Vanishing" was praised on international release.Grant, 2006. p.80] It was released in the United States in 1991 and made the list of Top Foreign films of 1991 by the National Board of Review.cite web |url= |title= Awards for 1991: |accessdate=2008-08-10 |work= |publisher=National Board of Review |year=1991 ] Desson Howe of "The Washington Post" praised the film's avoidance of cliche's noting that it is "refreshingly free of manipulative scenes involving running bath water, jagged-edge cutlery and bunnies in the saucepan".cite web |url= |title= ‘The Vanishing’ (R) |accessdate=2008-08-10 |work= |publisher=The Washington Post |date=March 8, 1991 ] Howe also made note of the unusual move of revealing the killer immediately and spending significant time learning about him. Roger Ebert wrote a similar approval of this in the "Chicago Sun Times" stating "One of the most intriguing things about "The Vanishing" is the film's unusual structure, which builds suspense even while it seems to be telling us almost everything we want to know."cite web |url= |title= The Vanishing :: |accessdate=2008-08-10 |work= |publisher=The Chicago Sun Times |date=January 25, 1991 ] Of the negative remarks, Ken Hanke of "Mountain Xpress" referred to the film as "Okay, but wildly overrated and predictable."cite web |url=
title= MOVIES / ON DVD / THE VANISHING |accessdate=2008-08-10 |work= |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes |date=
] "The Vanishing" holds a very high critical rating at the film review database Rotten Tomatoes, with 100% approval rating from critics with an average rating of 8.3/10.

Home video

The first North American copies of the film were released on Laserdisc by Image Entertainment on November 3, 1997.cite web
title = The Vanishing (1988 film)
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] It was later released on VHS by Fox Lorber on November 11, 1997cite web
title = The Vanishing
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] followed by a DVD version released on May 13, 1998.cite web
title = The Vanishing > Overview
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] The latest version of the film on DVD was released by The Criterion Collection on September 18, 2001.cite web
title = The Vanishing > Overview
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] The Criterion Collection version contains the original French trailer and an essay on the film by film critic Kim Newman as a supplemental material.cite web
title = The Vanishing (Spoorloos)
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10

ee also

*The Vanishing (1993 film)



*cite book
last= Grant
first= John
title= Noir Movies Facts, Figures & Fun
publisher= Sterling Publishing Company
year= 2006
isbn= 1904332390

External links


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