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   Short Film Critique: 
   How to Disappear Completely

Steve Piper
   Expected Rating: General Audiences
   Distribution: No Exclusive Distribution
   Budget: £500 (roughly $750 US)
   Genre: Psychological

   Running Time: 8 minutes

   Release Dates: June 15, 2004
   Website: Click Here
   Trailer: Click Here
   Review Date: April 15, 2006
   Reviewed By: Jeremy Hanke

Final Score:
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"How to Disappear Completely" is a bittersweet psychological study in humanity…a short film that leaves you thinking about your own life when you're done watching it. In a way, it is a film for other filmmakers even more than it is a film for the 'normal' people in society, for it deals with the alienation that occurs behind the lens of a camera.

Even though the basic story line in "How to Disappear Completely" is applicable to filmmakers everywhere, the main character is actually a still photographer. The main character (David House) stalks wildlife with his 35 mm SLR as a nature photographer. However, through narration, we discover that the photographer used to photograph people in their natural settings, like malls and cities. However, after seeing man's inhumanity to man too many times, he realized that people were no better than animals. And, if he were going to photograph animal-behaving things, he'd just as soon photograph real animals in the outdoors.

The more he photographs nature and its outdoor inhabitants, the more he learns to blend into his surroundings until, eventually, it's as though he disappears completely. He never thought about how this could be a negative thing until, one day, he rounds a bend in the forest and sees a beautiful girl (Michelle Munden) walking down a country road through the forest. He longs to go up and talk with her, but finds that he has become so used to being invisible that he no longer knows how to bridge the gap between himself and others. All he can do is take pictures of her from a distance, cursing his own alien-ness as she walks away. So enrapt is he by the beautiful woman, that he slowly walks down to the road to continue taking pictures of her departure. It is here that his rapture nearly gets him killed, for he almost fails to notice a speeding car that rushes down the road. At the last moment he is able to throw himself out of the way, but the girl he was photographing only moments ago is not so fortunate.

The film ends with the main character struggling with his inability to be 'visible'--to reach out, to communicate--when it was most needed.

All that's left are pictures in a dark room--and regret.

When the narrator starts taking
pictures, he begins with people...
...but he finds man's inhumanity too
upsetting to continue with them.

The writing for this short was smart and concise, yet also very heartfelt. The writer, Jason Young, did an amazing job of taking what was necessary to make this really sincere feeling mental dialogue and the director, Steve Piper, took that writing and really brought it to life in this short.

David House, as the main character, doesn't have to say any lines on camera, yet his facial movements are extremely expressive, especially when we see him yearning to actually go up and talk to the beautiful girl. This is very helpful in a voice-over based film. Additionally, his voice was retained as the narration and it has just the right combination of harmonious timbre and emotional to be completely captivating.

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