The Disappearance of My Mother

Storia di B. - La scomparsa di mia madre

Director: Beniamino Barrese
2019 | Italy | 95m
GENRE: Aging/Elders | Arts & Literature | Documentary | Gay | Mental Health | Parenting/Family
SECTION: Documentary


Benedetta Barzini was a revered Italian model who shattered stereotypes by becoming a Marxist radical feminist organizer and professor who publicly critiqued the fashion industry’s deep-seated misogyny. But now in her 70s, Barzini’s distaste for the world of images has deepened into an existential crisis. Quietly and without warning, she packs her belongings and tells her gay photographer son Beniamino she intends to disappear from the material world forever. Alarmed, Beniamino devises a plan he hopes will allow her to confront—instead of flee—the very thing she most distrusts: the camera. By capturing her on film, he intends to salvage his mother’s true essence and preserve her provocative narrative.

Featuring an appearance from Lauren Hutton, The Disappearance of My Mother is a radical documentary born out of a series of confrontations between a mother eager to set herself free and a son desperate to use the medium of film to keep her close. What begins as a deeply personal fight for control transforms into a profoundly collaborative project, one that attempts to rectify decades of harm inflicted by the camera’s oppressive gaze.


KQED Public Broadcasting

Open House SF

  • Language: In Italian and English with English subtitles
  • Premiere Status: West Coast