New show ex­plores true crime drama and sen­sa­tion­al­ism

7 Days in Dubai - - TELEVISION -

f binge-watch­ing Mak­ing A Mur­derer left you hooked on true crime, you may want to re­visit Net­flix for your next who­dun­nit fix. The lat­est of­fer­ing is Amanda Knox, an orig­i­nal doc­u­men­tary di­rected by Amer­i­can film­mak­ers Rod Black­hurst (Here Alone) and Brian McGinn (Chef’s Ta­ble) that sheds new light on the events and cir­cum­stances that have oc­curred in the nine years since the bru­tal 2007 killing of Bri­tish univer­sity stu­dent Mered­ith Kercher in Peru­gia, Italy, and the me­dia cir­cus that be­fell its num­ber one sus­pect: her Amer­i­can room­mate Amanda Knox.

Was Knox re­ally a cold-blooded psy­chopath, or just a naive stu­dent trapped in an end­less night­mare? The pub­lic was di­vided. But now twice con­victed and twice ac­quit­ted by Ital­ian courts, the cir­cus sur­round­ing Knox con­tin­ues to feed fas­ci­na­tion.

Here are some facts from the duo be­hind the doc­u­men­tary…

The in­ten­tion be­hind the doc­u­men­tary was to “start a con­ver­sa­tion about what we [the pub­lic] are more in­ter­ested in: in­for­ma­tion or en­ter­tain­ment”, ex­plains 35-year-old Black­hurst, who be­gan mak­ing the film with McGinn in 2011. Fea­tur­ing un­prece­dented ac­cess to key peo­ple in­volved and ne­ver­be­fore-seen archival ma­te­rial, the small-screen movie shifts be­tween past and present, ex­plor­ing the case from the in­side out, in ex­clu­sive in­ter­views with Amanda (now 29), her former co-de­fen­dant, fel­low stu­dent and ex-boyfriend Raf­faele Sol­lecito (now 32), Ital­ian pros­e­cu­tor Gi­u­liano Mignini and Daily Mail re­porter Nick Pisa.

“The main thing that ap­pealed to us was try­ing to look past all the ver­sions of the story that we’d heard, and I am sure ev­ery­one else in Europe had heard, to truly un­der­stand who th­ese peo­ple were be­hind the head­lines,” says Black­hurst.

As hunger for ex­cit­ing news sto­ries grows, 31-year-old co-direc­tor McGinn be­lieves it’s im­por­tant we ex­am­ine the role we all play in the per­pet­u­a­tion of ‘front page-ready’ nar­ra­tives. “There are so many sto­ries now about true crime and what’s fas­ci­nat­ing is why we are so in­ter­ested in th­ese true crime sto­ries that are real tragedies. In this case, a wo­man lost her life far too young, and that kind of gets for­got­ten, be­cause it’s turned into en­ter­tain­ment,” he con­tin­ues. “It’s a re­ally in­ter­est­ing ques­tion for us to ask our­selves, ‘What do we re­ally care about at the end of the day?’”

While the film­mak­ers are open in their ex­am­i­na­tion of the of­ten fraught re­la­tion­ship be­tween true crime tragedy, jus­tice and en­ter­tain­ment, the film’s point of view is from an un­bi­ased per­spec­tive, says Black­hurst.

“It was im­por­tant for us to in­clude the voices of those who were di­rectly at the heart of the story - not only Amanda Knox and Raf­faele Sol­lecito, but also Rudy Guede’s lawyer, Wal­ter Bis­cotti, and Mignini. Our job is to pull all of th­ese sto­ries to­gether and to paint the story from their point of view - how the years unfolded.”

While the direc­tor duo learnt plenty from the film­mak­ing process, McGinn re­veals the one el­e­ment about so­ci­ety and cul­ture that re­ally stood out is how “a nar­ra­tive truly has the abil­ity to de­fine some­thing”.

“Peo­ple want to look for the things that sup­port the ideal they al­ready be­lieve. We’re all liv­ing in th­ese strange, post-fac­tual democ­ra­cies, where the things that we want to be­lieve in­flu­ence the way we look at things,” he ex­plains.

“Our hope is that we can ap­ply that, or we can take that con­ver­sa­tion and talk about true crime sto­ries and this in­ter­sec­tion of jus­tice and truth and in­for­ma­tion . But also that there’s a larger con­ver­sa­tion to be had about all sorts of is­sues in the world.”

GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY: Knox was ar­rested for Kercher’s death in 2007. And inset, af­ter her ac­quit­tal

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