Image from the film "Spoorlos" of a long tunnel, at the end of which, a woman is silhouhetted in the light.e


Date(s) - Thu. May. 20, 2021
7:30 pm EDT - 8:45 pm EDT

Adam Nayman

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On a biking holiday with her boyfriend Rex, spirited, impulsive Saskia relates her childhood dream of being imprisoned in a golden egg, floating through the universe. Her anecdote turns out to be a chronicle of a death foretold. George Sluizer’s brilliant 1988 thriller Spoorlos unfolds as a series of prophecies, including several of the self-fulfilling variety: its characters can envision the consequences of their actions but pursue them anyway. After Saskia disappears from a roadside rest stop, Rex is consumed by a need to know what happened to her, a slave to his own morbid curiosity. In a parallel storyline, a prosperous chemistry professor strives to control and channel his own involuntary compulsions.

Where many genre films utilize the element of surprise, Spoorlos is constructed so that its characters—and the audience—can see everything coming. This creeping, inescapable dread makes Sluizer’s film a classic—Stanley Kubrick called it the scariest movie he’d ever seen— and gives it a genuinely existential dimension. In this brand-new lecture, film critic and author Adam Nayman (It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls; Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks) will analyze how Spoorlos plays with various literary and dramatic conventions from its shivery, premonitory prologue to its startling, retrospectively inevitable climax, while also examining its relationship to various cinematic influences (including Vampyr, Psycho and The Shining). In addition, the lecture will include a comparison of Spoorlos with its 1993 American remake The Vanishing—a curious and baffling case of a European filmmaker reworking and arguably disfiguring his own material in a Hollywood context.

Please note these are live events – they cannot be downloaded and watched later, so please be sure you are available at the time and timezone the classes are being offered in before registering.