Hot Docs 2015: Missing People

missing_people A woman is haunted by a past tragedy in Missing People.  Martina Batan is the director of a New York art gallery, who is still haunted by the 1978 unsolved murder of her brother Jeffrey.  Martina has been obsessively collecting the artwork of controversial artist Roy Ferdinand and has even befriended his sisters Faye and Michele in New Orleans.  Finding parallels with her own life, Martina’s passion for Roy inspires her to find closure over her brother’s murder. At first glance, the title of Missing People is a bit on the misleading side.  The film is less about people who are missing and more about deceased individuals who are missed by others.  Martina Batan’s brother Jeffrey was murdered at the very young age of 14 and it has left her an insomniac ever since.  She finds an escape somewhat in her collection of the violent and erotic art of Roy Ferdinand, who died in 2004.  Martina even goes to meet with Roy’s sisters and, even though they initially don’t trust her, they find a connection with Martina over their mutual feelings of loss for a loved one. It’s initially a little hard to tell how the various pieces of Missing People fit together.  At time the film feels like a biography of Ray Ferdinand, though it eventually becomes about Martina Batan hiring a private investigator to help solve the unsolved murder of her brother.  This reopens some old  wounds for Martina, though it also gives her a chance to bury her brother in her mind.  There is a bit of an ironic development towards the end, which is an interesting note to end the film on.  Altogether, Missing People is a decent enough film about recovering from loss. ★ ★ ★ ★ | LIKED IT Screenings:

  • Fri, Apr 24, 7:00 PM – Scotiabank Theatre 4
  • Sat, Apr 25, 11:30 AM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
  • Fri, May 1, 9:15 PM – Hart House Theatre
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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).