Disappearance of My Mother

A portrait of a woman in rebellion. Makes the personal ferociously political.


The Disappearance of My Mother

Benedetta Barzini wants to disappear. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali, Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. But at the age of 75, she is fed up with all the roles that life has imposed on her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind, to disappear to a place as far as possible from the gaze of the camera. Only her son Beniamino is permitted to witness her journey. Having filmed her since he was a child despite her resistance, he now wants to make a film about her, to keep her close for as long as possible – or, at least, as long as his camera keeps running. The making of the film turns into a battle between mother and son, a stubborn fight to capture the ultimate image of Benedetta – that of her liberation.

“Entertaining and dexterously crafted.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A film that both beguiles and unsettles as it salutes a remarkable woman… who has spent a lifetime challenging the influence of the fashion industry and staring down the unflinching gaze of the camera.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“Touching, emotional, and complicated. Seldom have you seen a documentary with as much soul, as alive, as The Disappearance of My Mother.” – J. Don Birnam, Awards Circuit

“10 out of 10 stars! This is the best documentary I’ve seen in 2019, and honestly in quite some time.” – Lorry Kitka, Film Threat

"One of the most moving and complex films at Sundance. I'll add to my list of heroines Benedetta Barzini, an Italian 1960s supermodel who became a leftist feminist and mother." – Amy Taubin, Film Comment
Not Rated
Documentary, Fashion, Women and Film, Photography
English, Italian
Beniamino Barrese
Beniamino Barrese
Benedetta Barzini
A.O. Scott, New York Times

“I hate memory,” says Benedetta Barzini near the end of “The Disappearance of My Mother.” In spite of this aversion to nostalgia, the film’s director, Beniamino Barrese, who happens to be Barzini’s son, smuggles in some material from her past. The first Italian model to appear on the cover of ...

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