Germany, USA

Synopsis

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 Inter, 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?
Very early during the production Christian Bauer decided to leave his usual position behind the camera and to tell the story in the first person. The filmmaker becomes the detective. The film's cinematic style reflects the search with a camera constantly in motion, with flowing movements and unusual camera angles, punctuated only now and then by interviews which usually define the genre. On quite another level „Missing Allen" is also a tribute to Allen's work as a filmmaker. In clips from his own films and the work he's done for others we experience the beauty and intensity of his camera work. Allen is present during the whole film through numerous stills and clips from videos and films taken by friends and colleagues during the last twenty years. Bauer also sets out to reconstruct Allen's spiritual search, and his yearning for love and understanding, which ultimately led him to become a member of a religious fringe group - a fact not known to Bauer when he was shooting his last film with Allen.
„Missing Allen" is both a personal story and a study of certain aspects of American society as seen through the eye of a European: the freedom to choose a life of one's own, and its dank flip-side: the lure of false prophets and the attraction of religious fringe groups which sometimes are not about religion at all. And it deals with a more universal topic: How well do we really know those who are close to us, can we really understand what is going on in those who we seem to know so well?

Director's Biography

Christian Bauer was born in 1947. After graduating in German and English Literature, American Affairs and History he taught at college and at the University of Munich. Then he started a second career and wrote film reviews for major German newspapers.
Independent filmmaker and producer since 1980, he has to this date directed more than fifty documentaries. In 1993, after several consecutive nominations, Christian Bauer was awarded the German equivalent of an Emmy, the Adolf Grimme Prize for his film an the last days of an US garrison in Bavaria ("The Yanks Go Home"). His last film "Missing Allen" won Best Documentary at the Montreal International Festival New Cinema New Media.

Filmography:

2000/2001 MISSING ALLEN
1998/1999 THE TRUE KIR ROYAL
1997 THE MECHANICS OF CHANCE
1996 01' MAN RIVER: A TRIP DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI
1996 PROJECT STARGATE — THE PENTAGON 'S PSYCHIC AGENTS
1996 LIGHTNING AND THUNDER — THUNDERSTORMS IN BAVARIA
1995 BAREFOOT IN THE BRONX — A FRANCISCAN FRIAR IN THE BRONX
1994 THE FILM CAPITAL OF THE WORLD: HOLLYWOOD
1993 ENCOUNTER OF THE 4TH KIND — ABDUCTED BY UFOS
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Christian Bauer

Written by: Christian Bauer

Main Cast: Allen Ross , Laurdis Ross, Linda Greene, Gaylon Emerzian

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary Award – Prix Arte 2002