The Missing

Philippines | 2023 | 90 min. | Carl Joseph E. Papa

In this mix of rotoscoped and hand-drawn animation, a mute gay animator sent to check in on his missing uncle encounters the alien who stole his mouth as a child. Co-starring Dolly de Leon (Triangle of Sadness and SIFF 2024’s Ghostlight).

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The Missing, the Philippines' first animated Oscars® submission for Best International Feature, introduces us to Eric, a video game designer with no mouth. When his mother Rosalinda (voiced by the indelible Dolly de Leon) prompts him to check up on his uncle who has gone silent, this event triggers the unwelcome return of a space alien from his childhood. Director Carl Joseph Papa employs a clever blend of adult sci-fi animation to delve into real-life trauma drawn from personal experiences he had as a boy. Animated through rotoscope, actor-musician Carlos Aquino delivers a sensitive portrayal of a speechless protagonist determined to reclaim stolen body parts from the creature—or perhaps someone much closer to home—who attempts to take him away. The Missing offers an emotionally gripping story about the triumph over unspoken evil through self-determination and the unwavering support of loved ones. Note: This film includes depictions of child grooming and implied sexual abuse.

SuJ’n Chon

  • Original Language Title: Iti Mapukpukaw
  • Director: Carl Joseph E. Papa
  • Principal Cast: Carlo Aquino, Dolly de Leon, Gio Gahol
  • Country: Philippines
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 90 min.
  • Producer: Geo Lomuntad, Dan Villegas
  • Screenplay: Carl Joseph Papa
  • Cinematographers: Jehtro Jamon
  • Editors: Benjamin Tolentino
  • Music: Teresa Barrozo
  • Awards: Official Academy Awards® Submission 2024 (International Feature), Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2023 (Best Film, NETPAC Jury)
  • Filmography: Paglisan (2018), Manang Biring (2015), Ang ‘di paglimot ng mga alaala (2014)
  • Language: Filipino, Ilocano
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Project 8 Projects