Photographs of missing children are some of the most haunting images of contemporary Western society. The specter of the child at risk from abduction, abuse, or illness, conjures questions about traumatic loss, protection and the family, stalgia and childhood incence. Emma Wilson argues that such questions increasingly return in the work of contemporary filmmakers. She explores the representation of missing and endangered children in a number of the key films of the last decade, including Kieslowski's Three Colours: Blue, Atom Egoyan's Exotica, Todd Solondz's Happiness, Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady, Lars von Trier's The Kingdom, and Almodovar's All About My Mother. Wilson contends that the loss of a child is perceived as a limit-experience in contemporary cinema, where filmmakers attempt to transform their means of representation as a response to acute pain and horror.
Emma Wilson is senior lecturer in French at Cambridge University, UK. She is the author of Sexuality and the Reading Encounter, French Cinema Since 1950, and Memory and Survival: The French Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski.