Thomas Leitch
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What’s missing from Missing (1982)
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Some adaptations focus on telling stories, others on creating worlds. Costa-Gavras’s 1982 film Missing has a third focus: to convert its target audience to a particular political belief, a critical scepticism of the American government and its agencies. The film works by encouraging the audience to identify with Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon), whose son Charles has disappeared in the wake of the 1973 coup in Chile. This chapter examines the operation of Costa-Gavras’s advocacy adaptation in Missing and its broader implications for theories of adaptation and representation.

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