The Vanished Elephant | Chicago Reader

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109 minutes · 2014

Drama, Mystery
The writer's journey has been a subject of innumerable films, though this dreamlike second feature (2014) from Peruvian writer-director Javier Fuentes-León is better woven than most. An allegory about artistic illusions feeding personal obsession, it makes art and life interchangeable, as a celebrated crime novelist (Salvador del Solar, excellent) receives clues to the whereabouts of his missing fiancee (Vanessa Saba) and becomes embroiled in a mystery that mimics his own stories. Set in Lima and Paracas, this picturesque whodunit fuses police procedural drama with elements of art house and Hollywood noir, while also paying tribute to Latin American writers such as Jorge Luis Borges. Fuentes-León leaves many narrative loose ends, but the film's surrealism enhances its meditation on the artist's creative process. In Spanish with subtitles.

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