The Case of the Vanishing Gods, plus Magic

Ross Lipman, Richard Attenborough · 2021 & 1978
177min · DCP
  • Thursday, Nov 2, 2023, 7:00pm

The new work by Ross Lipman (NOTFILM), THE CASE OF THE VANISHING GODS is a fable out of time told with artist-made puppets and archival film clips, a new kind of hybrid: half dream / half document. Under hypnosis, a tortured ventriloquist’s dummy recovers his lost memories, which relate a cultural history of ventriloquism from the prophetic tradition to the modern horror film. The entire tale is embedded in a frame paying homage to a vintage sci-fi TV series, while at the same time breaking down standard notions of film genre. Join this tragic hero on his strange journey into the hidden lives of puppets, and the collective unconscious that links them to our own lives.


“A black phantasmagoria on the relationship between cinema and ventriloquism in which puppet theater meets animation and Greek tragedy borders on horror…. The film enters a dimension between history, spirituality and the unconscious which, through a diversity of animation techniques, ventures to the very origins of ventriloquism.” Sylvia Nugara, Il Manifesto

Plays with: MAGIC (1978). Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins is Corky, a failed magician who adopts a new ventriloquist act with an abrasive dummy named Fats and suddenly finds himself lined up for a television show. When the unbalanced Corky fears he won’t pass the required mental exam, he runs away with Fats to his hometown, where he meets an old love from high school, Peggy (Ann-Margret). Corky persuades Peggy to leave her loveless marriage — but Fats, who seems to be taking on a mind of his own, doesn’t approve of the relationship.