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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 01, 2014 09:20AM) (new)

Oakville loves mysteries! Please join our online discussion of Night Film: "An inventive--if brooding, strange and creepy--adventure in literary terror," according to Kirkus Reviews.

Here's our first question: Horror filmmaker Stanislav Cordova has a cult following and has been out of the public eye for many years. His films are so violent and disturbing that some were banned from theatres. Did you find him believable? Can you think of any real-life examples of this overpowering, reclusive personality? Did he remind you of any real-life filmmakers?

Allison | 396 comments Okay, I'm only 80 odd pages into this story, so I may not be the most credible commentator at this point, but when I think of a reclusive personality I immediately think of JD Salinger. When I think of horror-type directors I imagine the likes of David Lynch, Roman Polanski and of course Hitchcock. And the most disturbing film I've ever seen probably has to be The Blair Witch Project (although Polanski's The Tenant is pretty horrifying too).

Not being too far into this mystery, I have at this point no problem with the believability factor. This Cordova character, for all of his mystery and reclusiveness, is no stretch to my imagination. So too are my feelings about his beautiful, gifted and other-worldly daughter, Ashley. Some people exude an ethereal air (I'm thinking of Rosamund Pike's portrayal of Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice). I am also particularly enjoying the multi-media components to this novel, which give the story a true-crime feel. I hear there are youtube trailers and clips that also add another dimension to this mystery...

Jennifer Patrick | 57 comments Mod
I finished this book and I did find the character of Cordova to be believable. Part of the intrigue of the mystery was that we never really see Cordova himself, only the shadow of him from viewpoints from other sources and people. This is one of the characteristics of the novel that kept me reading.

The only other director I can think of that is close to Cordova is Stanley Kubrick who directed Eyes Wide Shut (the only one of his films I saw). When I read of Cordova, Kubrick's name came into my mind.

message 4: by Darrell (new) - added it

Darrell | 55 comments I agree with both of you. I'm about halfway through now and really loving it--the mystery, the creepiness, the sense of foreboding. I definitely get a feel for Kubrick, Polanski, Lynch, definitely Hitchcock (with how obsessed he would get with some of his stars), and can definitely see shades of Salinger as well.

I find it quite believable, too. I mean, the author has used real-life factoids peppered throughout the story to make it believable (throwing in Cordova's fictional films in the context of real academy awards, the underground cinema scene in the catacombs in Paris, etc.). And it has the creepiness of the dark underworld of snuff films and other dodgy independent films from the old days that people passed around on videotape or reels (or maybe that's stuck in my mind because it came up on American Horror Story: Freakshow last week?).

Anyway, good fun and it's riding the line between realistic and supernatural so it could go either way at this point (halfway through, anyway).

Kate (arwen_kenobi) | 100 comments Mod
I'm agreeing with a lot of everything that's been said. Especially considering the immersion that Darrell mentioned. There so much stuff tied in to make you not help but believe - I really, really badly want to see some of these movies but am so sad that I can't!

Another figure Cordova reminds me of is Howard Hughes in the way he essentially vanishes from public view. The reasons are totally different but I couldn't get that thought out of my head as I thought of Hitchcock, Kubrick, and even David Cronenberg in some ways (devotion to his subject matter regardless of public taste in that aspect)

Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "I'm agreeing with a lot of everything that's been said. Especially considering the immersion that Darrell mentioned. There so much stuff tied in to make you not help but believe - I really, really ..."
Wow, Kate. You're a lot braver than I am. I would absolutely not want to see Cordova's films, although I am curious about them. They just seem too scary for me. I found the idea of the hidden internet to be very interesting as a way to access the films and get information about the director. Not sure I've ever heard of that before.

message 7: by Darrell (new) - added it

Darrell | 55 comments Yeah, I love horror films but I think Cordova's films might be too much even for me :)

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Great discussion, everyone. Reviews for Night Film mention some of the film and literary figures that we have mentioned:

"Cordova, the book’s absent center, is an intriguing character, a neo-Gothic mashup of de Sade, J.D. Salinger, David Lynch and Count Dracula." Slate.com (http://tinyurl.com/n4bnrld)

"Stanislas Cordova, a master filmmaker who has shunned publicity with a zeal that makes Thomas Pynchon look like a shameless attention hog." NYTimes.com (http://tinyurl.com/mv2czbq)

"Offstage throughout is a horror-film director, Stanislas Cordova, described variously as 'legendary' or even 'a myth'. A cross between Stanley Kubrick and Dario Argento." theguardian.com (http://tinyurl.com/nvnqmtw)

Later this month, we'll discuss what we learn about Cordova at the end of the book. Will our opinions be the same?

Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
I agree with a lot that has been said above - I finished the novel a few weeks ago but one of the most stunning things that I noted at the end was (spoiler below)

(view spoiler)

It definitely brought Kubrick and Polanski to mind for me - I think I actually imagined Polanski's face when imagining Cordova! Hitchcock, Lynch, and Cronenberg are good suggestions too.

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