HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY
Directed by Raya Martin
Official Selection, 2013 Locarno International Film Festival
In Raya Martin’s thuggish fable of disengagement, a teenage girl grows distant from her parents before possibly vanishing altogether. But this is no angst drama. It’s defiance against a kind of ordered existence, treating death like a game, living life in a soft-focus daze, ready to evaporate if pushed far enough. The girl and all the other faceless kids wander numbly in slow motion through the brush, through the parental jabber, only the electronic drone keeping them from losing their bearings.
Watching HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY is a bit like that too. With the year’s most hard-hitting soundtrack by Eyedress, the film hypnotizes us with its soft surfaces and its revolutions of crunching and whirring and booty bass drum machine asphyxia. Raya Martin (The Great Cinema Party, SDAFF ’12) produces the cinematic equivalent of taking Vicodin, starting an 80s horror film from the middle, and then melting the VHS tape over a fire. There’s a lethargic sensual beauty too, from a shot of hands caressing blood-sausage intestines to a girl fingering herself in bed.
At some point we awaken from the hypnosis and the sky is falling, a violent apocalyptic fantasy raging against fucked-up dads and fucked-up colonial legacies. We gasp for air but Martin is too good at his craft, too locked into the ravenous grotesquerie, too much in love with the fact that movies can be like this, that we can’t help but hold his hand and wander off into the unknown. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: San Diego Film Critics Society