“A Disappearance” is a short film that follows celebrity medium Dame Alvera as she struggles to restart her career after 11 years, and perform readings in front of an audience.
From the beginning of the short we see the Dame struggling with alcoholism, self-hatred, and blame shifting. The actress who plays Dame Alvera, Sophie Thompson, really captured the perfect balance between sweet and sinister, complete with subtle cues in her wardrobe.
A sweet pink ruffled blouse and pink skirt confused me as to whether or not she was actually evil and at fault for the downfall of her career or if it really was her manager Pat’s fault as she accuses him of while he’s crying out his black eyeliner begging her for another chance.
As the short progresses the Dame performs a public reading, with some degree of accuracy for those in the audience and others accusing her of being a fraud. There is great tension and suspense build, the cinematography and score are superb and add to the effect of not knowing whether or not to believe in the validity of her readings.
The storyline has a great arc and landing and perfectly fills the fifteen minute space. It held my attention and made me curious to see how this would play out as a feature film, I wonder if the filmmakers, Laura Spini and Laurence Brook, would have any interest in making this into a longer piece.
With the increasing popularity of mediums and tarot I think this could potentially develop into a unique feature, and would be timed properly with the interest in mysticism in modern culture. The only thing I was looking for in the short that I felt was missing was more in terms of production design. Having additional objects and a brighter color wheel would have added to the supernatural effect, and, in these types of films, it is almost an essential.
I thought of one of my favorite films “The Love Witch” (2016,) and I see shades of that here, but so much of the otherworldly beauty of that film relied heavily on unique and detailed production design. If that aspect could be amped up here this short has a great potential to be something more.
“A Disappearance” is available now, streaming free on Vimeo, I highly recommend this one, a very enjoyable 15 minutes and I would love to see it as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
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