Missing People

Mar 20, 2016

(David Shapiro, United States, 2015, 81 min)

Seattle premiere!

Seattle premiere
A mystery about an art collector, an outsider artist, and an unsolved murder, Missing People occupies the troubled and enigmatic mind of Martina Batan, a Manhattan art curator. Martina’s lifelong demon is the unsolved 1978 murder of her younger brother, Jeff. At the time, Martina was 18 years old. The violent death drove the beautiful art student into a life of insomnia, loneliness, and obsessive compulsion. Among her obsessions: the collecting of artwork by the deceased, critically underappreciated New Orleans painter Roy Ferdinand.
The film interweaves these three threads: Martina, Jeff, Roy. The two dead men are Martina’s obsession and the film’s initial focus. Jeff, long deceased and never older than 14, and the stranger/surrogate-brother, Roy, who passed away in 2004 after a life of homelessness and crack cocaine dependency. His paintings garnered local recognition for their unflinching depictions of urban existence: drug-wracked bodies, dilapidation, and murder victims. In Ray’s scarred face, and the expressionless faces of his subjects, Martina discerned the absence of her own loved one.
Of course, the unfortunate part about the dead is that they are never as simple as we need them to be. As the film spirals away from Martina’s lifelong self-examination, it opens into the mortifying truth: we will all, in some manner or another, go missing. It’s simply a question of time.

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