a film by Gretchen and John Morning
2011 | 85 mins | US
›› GONE: The Disappearance of Aeryn Gillern
a mother's vigil for the truth over her missing son.
GONE: The Disappearance of Aeryn Gillern by Gretchen and John Morning
Official Synopsis:-

On October 31st, 2007, Kathy Gilleran; a police veteran from the small town of Cortland, New York received distressing news from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna: her son Aeryn, a UN researcher and former Mr Gay Austria, has disappeared. Upon her arrival in Vienna, police tell Kathy that her son was last seen fleeing an exclusive men's sauna wearing only a towel, to then jump to his death into the Danube Canal. They have no interest in further investigating his case. Though her son's disappearance has been ruled a suicide, Kathy suspects there is more to the story.

This documentary seeks to unravel the mystery of Aeryn's whereabouts and uncover the true reasons for the Viennese police's failure to assist Kathy as she searches for her son.
GONE: The Disappearance of Aeryn Gillern by Gretchen and John Morning
Dave Says:-

Told in a straightforward style, with Aeryn's mother emotionally relating the series of events that took place in chronological order, this documentary, akin to investigative journalism makes for riveting, if alarming viewing. Then again, there is good reason for such, given it not only details the disappearance of a mother's beloved son, but her uphill struggle to discover the truth of what exactly happened on that fateful night in October 2007.

What Kathy Gilleran did uncover however was a shocking insight into a bigoted police department intent on closing an investigation, that never was. Found out to be blatantly telling one lie after another, what followed was a series of acts of outright intimidation, disrespect and homophobia. And it is here that conspiracy theorists will have a field day, given it is all but obvious that something happened within the Kaiserbründl sauna on the night of Aeryn's disappearance and whatever it was, had a direct consequence on what happened to Aeryn thereafter. Yet here basic investigative procedures were not followed, as no witness statements were taken and critically no CCTV footage, both external and internal from the night in question was viewed; the official police line being that Aeryn had simply committed "spontaneous" suicide, without a body to be found.

And that cuts deep, given for a man who loved Vienna, both Aeryn and his mother have been brutally let down by the City, its police department and its very Parliament, who in February 2009 declined to investigate the case further. That you cannot help but be moved by Kathy's heartfelt testimony, goes without saying and yet hers is the sole direct-to-camera interview, leaving many a Viennese official getting off scot free from literally facing the camera, whilst recollections from other friends and family would have not gone amiss. That Aeryn was last seen running naked through the streets for his very life, raises serious questions over a deliberate cover-up, or that of a botched investigation by an uncooperative police department who "just don't care" for the life of an openly gay man. Either way, it leaves a grieving mother in a state of perpetual limbo, forever standing vigil for the truth to her son's mysterious disappearance to somehow surface, as this telling documentary is testament to.

Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.
available on DVD as part of the Breaking Glass Pictures catalogue 3.July.2012 / US.
official website: gone-film.com
see also: www.aeryngillern.com
note: Kathryn Gilleran chose to add the "a" back to her surname,
as it is the original spelling of her father's family name.
Copyright 2012 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #501
›› previous page | back to top | print me ‹‹
click for gay celluloid - home