I am now going to disappear and there will be nothing left of me. No “traces,” over which the European philosophers like to obsess. Film can make disappearance happen. Or not happen. Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley’s Permanent Green Light (2018), Michael Haneke’s Happy End (2017), and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed (2017) pursue various disappearing acts. Like magicians. Who can get out of this world first? All films depict a desire to escape the modern world—either through meaningless suicide (a-purposive) or cause-driven suicide (purposive, e.g. eco-terrorism).
In these films, buildings collapse for no apparent reason. Europe can’t take care of herself. She is calling for help, for God. A hamster is killed by a young girl. A student is collecting bomb vests for fun. A priest, son lost in a meaningless war in the Middle East, is dying of cancer as his church collapses over his head.