#ImagesofAbsence is a short docu-drama which follows a young researcher as she explores the topic of homelessness. It should be insightful, eye-opening, at the very least emotive, but the narrative fails to deliver and instead audiences will be left with a hollow series of clips which only touch on the surface of this significant issue.
The thirteen minute film opens in classic docu-drama style, with our researcher conducting a street survey on attitudes towarss the homeless. This should have been a hard-hitting start, rooting the film in the emotional aspects of the topic, but the script has not considered basics such as the question order and so none of the survey responses really built on each other or gave us anything to consider: an important aspect of any docu-drama.
And sadly, the film gets worse from here. What follows is a series of clips of our researcher hearing, in places, some heavily emotive monologues from homeless characters or their families, yet our researcher remains impassive and lacks any connection with the other characters. There are some brief nods to the private life of our researcher which suggest we're going to learn more about her and why she is researching a topic she clearly has little feeling for, but this isn't the case. The narrative, and indeed the film, ends. We've learnt nothing about homelessness beyond what we can already imagine about those it affects and our protagonist has zero motivation for the cause. You cannot help but wonder what the director's idea of a film really is and where the understanding of narrative arcs has wandered off to.
What is most sad is that the characters surrounding the protagonist can clearly act and the writers can clearly deliver grit and heart in equal measure. It just isn't sustained and consequently leaves us almost as impassive as our protagonist.