The Disappearance Of My Mother – Hot Docs 2019 Quickie Review

Beniamino Barrese’s The Disappearance Of My Mother begins with a casting call, where numerous young European woman are lined up, prepared to be photographed and interviewed, regarding Barrese’s influential role model, and own guardian, Benedetta Barzini. In what comes to an arousing conclusion of mixed images and fluttered dreams from Barzini’s perspective, The Disappearance of my Mother ultimately comes from Barrese’s point of view. Unfortunately, this comes with a cost. Like most aspiring filmmakers, The Disappearance Of My Mother comes to the same tedious roadblock, which many starting artists have to face. The film is indecisive of it’s perspective, constantly changing focus of the subject between personal affiliation and third-party documentation.

The usage of archival footage and montages are well done, but the film doesn’t know how to keep direction, or focus for that matter. While subject’s life is enthralling, there’s nothing to gravitate too in the film, when there isn’t really much to say regarding her career and feminist influence. At the end of the day, The Disappearance Of My Mother comes off as a shallow, surface-level, amateur passion project, where Barrese’s warm sentiments for his mother, doesn’t quite successfully overshadows the film’s cohesive nature. Also, it’s never a good sign when a filmmaker continuously harasses it’s subject, alongside her family/friends. I don’t care if it’s your guardian, or if you need content for your film. It just looks petty and childish on camera.

The Disappearance Of My Mother screened at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as part of the Made In Italy program. Kino Lorber will later release the film this year.

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