The new fascination with ‘true crime’ will have its own programme in the 38th edition of Cinema Jove, with eight feature films that allow us to trace the origins and evolution of the genre from the seventies to the present day, from a broad perspective and from a national and international perspective.
Based on the novel of the same name by Truman Capote, ‘In Cold Blood’ is considered a clear forerunner of true crime. This film, directed by Richard Brooks and released in 1967, reconstructs the robbery of a family residence by two ex-convicts in a rural town in the United States. What was originally intended as a burglary and robbery turned out to be one of the most shocking multiple murders in modern history. The film describes the personalities of the two killers as thoroughly as in the book, as well as the personalities that are constructed when the two act together. It also offers an interesting speculative analysis of the motives that drive them to commit the crimes.
El asesino de Pedralbes’ (Gonzalo Herralde, 1978) is an essential documentary within the genre in Spain that brings us closer to the biography of José Luis Cerveto, the author of the stabbing murder of an upper middle-class Barcelona couple in 1974.
The Thin Blue Line’ (Errol Morris, 1988) is a documentary based on the arrest and conviction of Randall Adams, sentenced to death for the murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976.
Another true crime masterpiece is the mockumentary ‘It Happened Close to Home’ (1992), in which a Belgian TV crew consisting of Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde follows the trail of a serial killer and thief. While they record their reflections, this psychopath continues to commit crimes. Moreover, in this mockumentary, the reporters come to collaborate with him in his misdeeds. The film won the Special Jury and Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as Best Film and Best Actor at Sitges.
Aileen Wuornos: Life and Death of a Serial Killer’ (Nick Broomfield, Joan Churchill, 2003) takes us into the mind of a serial killer with serious psychological pathologies who awaits her end on death row. Aileen Wuornos was played by the actress Charlize Theron in the film ‘Monster’, a role for which she received an Oscar in 2004.
We return to Spain with ‘El 7º día’, a film directed in 2004 by the recently deceased filmmaker Carlos Saura and inspired by the Puerto Hurraco massacre of 1990. This drama recreates the violent relationship between the Jiménez and Fuentes families, always against the backdrop of territorial conflicts, jealousy and envy.
Cinema Jove will also host the Spanish premiere of the Canadian feature film ‘Cette Maison’ (Myriam Charles, 2022), whose starting point is the discovery of a teenager hanging herself in her bedroom. It appears to be a suicide, but the autopsy reveals something else. The film, presented at the last Berlinale, is distinguished by its poetic and phantasmagorical approach to ‘true crime’.
The cycle will close with ‘Bowling for Columbine’, a documentary based on the brutal shooting of a young teenager in a Colorado high school in 1999. The controversial American filmmaker and documentarian Michael Moore explores in this film the roots of the romance between Americans and firearms.
In the context of the cycle ‘True Crime: The New Fascination’, a round table discussion with experts on the subject will be organised. The talk will take place on Friday 23 June at 12 noon at the FNAC in the Plaza de San Agustín, and will be attended by the journalist and writer Joan M. Oleaque, the screenwriter María Mínguez and the criminologist, psychologist and writer Vicente Garrido. They will explore the motivations behind the popular fascination with serial killers, blood crimes and professional swindlers.