Roos’ (Rifka Lodeizen), an accomplished photographer, return to her mother Louise’s (Elsie de Brauw) remote home in Norway is not the joyous homecoming one would expect after a lengthy absence. Having abruptly ended her last visit after yet another fight with her mother, Roos promises her younger brother Bengt (Marcus Hanssen), whose thirteenth birthday they have gathered to celebrate, that she will try to avoid conflict this time around. Of course, this is easier said than done as Roos is carrying a secret that will further alter her already fractured relationship with her mother.
Methodical in the way the narrative unfolds, Disappearance is an exploration of the familial bonds that can often feel foreign to us. Director Boudewijn Koole constructs a tale of a mother and daughter coming to terms with just how little they truly know each other. This is accentuated by the way Koole plays with space and isolation that the landscape surrounding the home provides. There is a longing for connection, and an inability to do so, that can be found in not only Roos’ family interactions, but also in the rekindling of passions with a former flame, and now married, Johnny (Jakob Oftebro).
One of the intriguing things about Koole’s film is the way art and sounds are used to convey how much Roos and Louise take for granted in life. Letting the uncomfortable emotions linger, and then observing how his characters deal with it, Disappearance is a somber but effective look at the family bonds that may seem foreign, but are vital to who we are.
Tuesday, September 12, 9:30 PM, Scotiabank 13
Thursday, September 14, 8:45 AM, Scotiabank 3
Sunday, September 17, 9:45 PM, Scotiabank 17
Tickets can be purchased at the TIFF website.