I think it’s fair to say, especially in relation to its larger European neighbours, Holland hasn’t exactly set the world alight when it comes to cinema. Indeed, outside of Paul Verhoeven’s work (Soldier of Orange, Turkish Delight, Black Book etc), films from The Netherlands have generally had only a limited impact on the wider world. Which is a shame really because Dutch cinema has produced a lot of really good films over the years. Few better than George Sluizer’s The Vanishing (Spoorloos).
Whilst on holiday in France, Rex (Gene Bervoets) and his partner Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) are left stranded when they run out of gas. As he goes to find a garage, she is left all alone. Something he promises never to do again when they subsequently pull into a rest stop. However, shortly after she disappears without a trace. Meanwhile, Raymond (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) is a wealthy family man with a secret fantasy he simply must explore.
The Vanishing is arguably the greatest Dutch film of all time. What makes it such a captivating and tense experience is Sluizer’s decision to keep his cards close to his chest. Whilst we’re afforded glimpses into Rex and Raymond’s lives, he opts to leave much to the imagination; leaving the audience in a state of rapt suspense throughout. It’s a wonderful thriller which deserves to find a new audience.
The Vanishing is released on EST, DVD and Blu-ray as part of Studiocanal’s Vintage World Cinema collection on 8 June.