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Notes on an Appearance

Ricky D’Ambrose, one of New York City’s most promising new filmmaking voices, makes his feature debut with the mazelike Notes on an Appearance, which concerns the disappearance of a young intellectual, David (Bingham Bryant), recently returned to New York and helping his friend Todd (Keith Poulson) with a book on the incendiary leftist theorist Steven Taubes. Mystery surrounds both David’s fate and Taubes’ (and his followers’) as Keith and girlfriend Madeleine (Tallie Medel) search for their friend. They soon become enmeshed in a network of shadowy acquaintances as the backdrop of white apartment walls, spare café tables, wrinkled bedlinens, and an avalanche of paper ephemera (including some of the most impressive fake copies of the New York Times ever committed to celluloid) close in around them. Recalling the austerity and claustrophobia of Robert Bresson’s later work, Notes on an Appearance is “a feature debut that proceeds with a forthright intelligence, moving in the exact thrilling and wonderfully bewildering manner that D’Ambrose wishes.”—Ryan Swen, The Film Stage. Preceded by D’Ambrose’s early short Six Cents in the Pocket (2015, 14 mins.).

Genres: Drama