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By Merle Bertrand | February 22, 2000

I love it when films do this. All we ever see in David Rosenthal’s “Absence” are shots of an old man (Benjamin Feuer) running through the woods in apparent pursuit of a young girl (Madison Bates). He finally catches up to her, they hold hands as tears well up in his eyes, and then she’s gone, leaving him standing in the woods alone. Can’t figure out what it all means? Join the club.
While assumptions and speculations abound, it’s not until you read the description in the program that you understand what you’ve been watching is “one man’s haunting confrontation with his past.” What if we don’t have a copy of the program? How the hell are we supposed to know what’s going on? “Absence” is a beautifully photographed film, but the “Absence” in the title may as well be a describe the backstory necessary to understand this blank-riddled exercise in futility.

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