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The Case of the Vanishing Gods

The Case of the Vanishing Gods

Hugo, in The Case of the Vanishing Gods

The American Cinematheque and Los Angeles Filmforum present

The Case of the Vanishing Gods

U.S. Premiere, and live ventriloquism and puppet performances

Thursday April 14 2022, 7:00 pm

At the Los Feliz 3, 1822 N Vermont Ave Los Angeles, CA 90027

Note the change in location and day!

In-person: Q&A with director Ross Lipman, puppeteer Audrey Densmore, actors David Isaacson and Jeff Dorchen, and artist / puppet maker Julia Zanes. Moderated by Rodney Ascher.

Tickets: $13 general, $8 Cinematheque and Filmforum members.

Plus, live ventriloquism and puppet performances by Karl Herlinger, Audrey Densmore, Eli Presser, Michael Serwich and Jeff Speetjens.

Co-presented by Los Angeles Filmforum. Los Angeles Filmforum Members receive AC Member-priced tickets (LOS FELIZ 3 BOX OFFICE SALES ONLY)

A fable out of time told with puppets and film clips, The Case of the Vanishing Gods is a new kind of hybrid:  half dream / half document.  Our hero is a tortured ventriloquist’s dummy named Hugo who’s lost his memory.  Under hypnosis his lost memories are recovered, and relate a cultural history of ventriloquism from the prophetic tradition to the modern horror film.  Join Hugo on this strange journey into the hidden lives of puppets, and into the collective unconscious that links them to our own lives.

A Fiction / Doc / Essay disguised as sci-fi TV series exploring the house of mirrors of our unconscious minds, told with puppets and film clips. 

Written, Photographed, Directed and Edited by ROSS LIPMAN

World Premiere Locarno Film Festival 2021

Winner, Selezione Pixel (awarded by Corriere Del Ticino to the three most innovative films in the Locarno Film Festival 2021)

“THE CASE OF THE VANISHING GODS is in turn fun, funny, deeply disturbing, and always provocative:  a commentary on the fakery of cinema and the desire for fakery that makes it all possible.”  – Jonathan Rosenbaum

"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

"Ross Lipman, one of the most important contemporary independent cinema innovators, explores a fraction of film culture with surprising freedom, cutting, stretching and creating a unique collage of history, cinema, and ventriloquist art. There is no shortage of fear, and plenty of liberating laughter. The Case of the Vanishing Gods sets a clear direction for independent cinema, establishing the increasingly important role of essay films beyond the mainstream cinema. - Mateusz Tarwacki, Zawieszony

"Horror and psychoanalysis join in a beautiful, creative and damned disturbing work" - Alessio Gradogna, Orizzonti di Gloria

"a welcome experience that skillfully assembles, repurposes and recycles archival images to produce new sensations. Lipman confirms his talent as a film essayist, already displayed in NOTFILM and BETWEEN TWO CINEMAS. A great essay film." - Monica Delgado, Desistfilm

"I thought I'd outgrown my fear of sentient dolls on a murderous rampage, but now I need to re-evaluate that belief. One thing's for sure, if I ever saw a doll coming at me and go under a bed/sofa, there is no way I'd bend down to look under it because that way only leads to pain." - Cara-Lynn Branch, Universal Cinema Film & TV Journal

puppeteer Audrey Densmore 300dpi copy

Puppeteer Audrey Densmore, The Case of the Vanishing Gods

The Case of the Vanishing Gods

The Case of the Vanishing Gods

2021, 70 min. cool, sound, digital

Written, photographed, directed and edited by

Ross Lipman

featuring David Isaacson as Doctor Labyrinth

and introducing HUGO




music by Mihály Víg

Our host, DOCTOR LABYRINTH encounters a ventriloquist’s dummy with a troubled past.  Only through the Doctor’s most daring efforts can HUGO learn the nature of his troubles -- a process that takes them on a rollercoaster journey through the history of ventriloquism, from the prophetic tradition to the present day.