Tell No One and The Secret in Their Eyes tossed in for good measure. Comparisons, as they say, are odious, and so far as the new Spanish-language film from Peru/Columbia/ Spain, THE VANISHED ELEPHANT, is concerned, these do the movie little justice and, in fact, just might sink it once this comparative word-of-mouth gets out. Tell No One was a hugely intricate and fast-moving thriller, and one of, if not the most-successful-at-the-boxoffice foreign language film of its decade. More slow-moving, The Secret in Their Eyes, was also a kind of mystery thriller that built to a whopping and surprising conclusion (in addition to walking away with Best Foreign Language Film that year).
Javier Fuentes-León (shown at left, who gave us the bisexual drama about death and the closet, Undertow, some years back), The Vanished Elephant comes much closer to a genuine "art" film -- a kind of puzzle about the artistic process, identity, love and narcissism -- which poses as a mystery only in the sense that all of our identities are, finally, mysterious. This is also quite a beautiful film to view, one of the most visually compelling I have seen in the past year or so. I believe Señor Fuentes-León means this visual beauty to be part of the puzzle, as well as the film's fun. It is, in both cases.
Salvador del Solar, above) tries to unravel the disappearance of his girlfriend (played by Vanessa Saba, below), some years previous, he comes up against quite an arsenal of oddities.
Lucho Cáceres, below, right), in the series of popular mystery novels that Edo writes. There is also a District attorney set on proving that Edo was the person responsible for his girlfriend's disappearance, a photographer who has organized a new exhibit around Edo's famous novels, and other possible red herrings.
Oscilloscope Laboratories and running 109 minutes, The Vanished Elephant opens here in South Florida this Friday, March 4, at the Bill Cosford Cinema in Coral Gables and the Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood. To see further playdates, cities and theaters, click here then scroll down.