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Feb 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Missing Allen/The Grandfather Trilogy

With Christian Bauer


Missing Allen

92 min., 2001

A story like Missing Allen has never been told on film. Most documentary-filmmakers find their subjects in other people´s lives – here the director is not only personally involved, but Christian Bauer also tells the story of an unfolding mystery, the story of the search for a lost friend and colleague, in which the filmmaker becomes the detective.

Missing Allen is a detective story, which leads the viewer into the American Heart of Darkness, to Waco, Texas and Oklahoma City, to UFO-believers and religious cults. The film is investigating the disappearance of Allen Ross, a filmmaker and Cameraman from Chicago who went missing only a few weeks after he had shot a film about the Mississippi River together with director Christian Bauer. Their friendship had started with their first project in 1989, a feature length documentary about Allen´s hometown Chicago. Until Allen´s disappearance in November 1995 they had shot seven films together.

Four and a half years later, when Missing Allen begins, nobody has heard from Allen Ross. There are only a few possible explanations for his disappearance: Has he dropped out of society – but for what reason? Is he hiding out, afraid of the revenge of the religious cult he seems to have been a member of? Or has he been murdered – and why? Step by step the film eliminates one scenario after the other, until we are faced with only one possible explanation: Allen is dead. But where is his body?

The Grandfather Trilogy

60 min., 1978-81, 16mm

The Grandfather Trilogy is a major work of Chicago filmmaker (and Chicago Filmmakers co-founder) Allen Ross. Comprised of the three short films Papa, Thanksgiving, 1979, and Burials, it is a moving and deeply personal portrait of the filmmaker’s grandfather. Featuring Ross’ subtle and lyrical camerawork, beautiful black and white and color cinematography, and humane and tender treatment of its subject, The Grandfather Trilogy is one of the key independent films from Chicago, once again available in stunning new prints.

Ross has written: “One of the ways I see the trilogy is as a radical approach to portraiture. Most of Papa was shot without looking through the viewfinder. There were, however, many accidents that happened while the camera was turned on. The film plays for me as a long sustained accident. I am grateful for this photographic record of a divinely shadowed presence. It is a reflection of a kind of space my grandfather generated.”

152 min


Feb 7, 2009
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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