Monday, June 22, 2015

El elefante desaparecido (The Vanished Elephant)

From the very opening, we are warned that this is a film of doubling and illusion. A car slowly pulls up and to a stop in a nighttime Lima street, but we gradually realise that we are observing the scene through a large window, with the street and headlamps subtly reflecting and shifting in the pulled focus. It turns out that this sequence – man with gun stealthily enters house – forms the final chapter of Edo Celeste’s latest in a long line of successful detective novels, and he is composing it as we watch, before deleting it in disgust at his reliance on cliche – a black cat. It also turns out that later on Edo himself will repeat the exact same actions, via the same shots, trying to find the woman who can help him find the mysterious man who has posed for a photographic project depicting his works’ hero, Felipe Aranda, who also seems to be the presumed-dead husband of the mysterious woman who kickstarts the plot by summoning Edo to a clifftop rendez-vous and presenting him with a package of photographs allegedly mailed to his name to her address by said deceased husband, Raphael Pineda (yes, it’s an anagram of Felipe Aranda). And that black cat will turn up again, more than once.

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