Friday, December 12, 2008

Prison Movie Co-starring Knox Now In Slow-Motion Meltdown?!

Posted by Skeptical Bystander

For those already following the increasingly surrealistic run-up to the trial of the two remaining suspects indicted for alleged involvement in Meredith Kercher’s brutal murder, this will probably come as no surprise:

Amanda Knox, one of the two suspects, has participated (some would even say she has the starring role) in a movie featuring prison inmates incarcerated at Capanne, where Knox is being held. It was directed by Claudio Carini with grant money provided by the Umbrian regional council.

We saw this coming, in a way.

Last week, Frank Sfarzo (a stage name, real name Sforza), who has worked in the film industry, published an “exclusive interview” with Amanda Knox, in which she seems to show an incredible command of…  broken English!

But it still comes as quite a shock. Who can possibly, for one second, ever have thought that this was okay?

Controversy is building fast now in Italy. The film was supposed to have been publicly screened, at the Perugia Batik Independent Film Festival, but Knox’s lawyers, the elected members of the Umbrian council and the director of Capanne prison have asked that the film be yanked.

Incredibly though, whether the film will ever be made public is still “pending” according to the Batik Festival’s director, Alessandro Riccini Ricci.  Director Carini claims that Knox’s participation was “coincidental” because the idea was hatched in June 2007, before she joined the inmates at Capanne.

Is it also “coincidental” that the film is said to open and close with a shot of Knox’s blue eyes?

Can this really be true?!  It reminds me of one of the most recent witnesses to come forward. He said that he saw Knox at 7:45 am on the morning of November 2 (she claims she slept in until 10 am that morning), with her “blue eyes” peeking out from behind a scarf.

The media and blogosphere have reacted immediately and overwhelmingly negatively. Web posters are wondering aloud how the Kercher family will feel when they hear that one of the suspects in their daughter’s murder volunteered for this role, had a lot of fun doing it and, in the words of Ricci, is a “magnetic actress.”

A propos the “magnetic actress”  as people have already noted wryly, including Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, actually, we already knew.

I wonder how Raffaele will react to the news? Recall that, according to one Italian source, Raffaele had this interesting conversation with his father and step-mother after his incarceration:

Mara: “It’s worth thinking about this. You must give this some thought because the Americans are a bit more advanced than we are, do you understand? They do lots of things for notoriety even if they become meteors”¦. tomorrow you don’t remember them anymore because someone else has taken their place.”

Raffaele: “But are you sure about this notoriety thing?”

Mara: “I’m very sure.”

Shout-out to Mara: So are we!

It will be interesting to see how the local Knox PR machine roves this latest gaffe into something not only acceptable but downright laudable. They were unavailable for comment ““ I guess they’re under the cone of silence, brainstorming as I write ““ but maybe someone could get this idea to them:

They might say that Amanda Knox has become passionate about inmate rights, and wanted to lend her brand name to this worthy cause…

We have media today that allow us to record the present. What we record not only reflects the present, but indeed can shape our perception of it and the way in which the future unfolds.

Did anyone remotely involved in this project stop once to consider the ramifications? Not the least of which for the Kercher family?  The Knox/Mellas family and supporters have complained loudly and consistently about the unfair media coverage of Amanda Knox.

Their complaints would have sharper teeth if they themselves did not seek the limelight at every opportunity.

I don’t usually agree with right-wingers, but I certainly think Italian People of Freedom party senator Laura Allegrini nailed it.She said that the film would only fuel the celebrity-style media coverage of the American ‘‘as if she were a star and not a young woman accused of a horrible crime”¦”

And “In all of this, the victim and her family are put in second place.’‘


Maybe she has ran out of Beattle Tunes and is now singing ala Elvis

Are you lonesome tonight,
Do you miss me tonight?
Are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray (please say it does) to a brighter sunny day
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?
Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your iron bars and picture me there?
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

I wonder if youre lonesome tonight
You know someone said that the worlds a stage
And each must play a part.
Fate had me playing in love you as my sweet heart.
Act one was when we met, I loved you at first glance
You read your line so cleverly and never missed a cue
Then came act two, you seemed to change (you know, right after that unpleasant act) and you acted strange
And why Ill never know.
Honey, you lied when you said you loved me
And I had no cause to doubt you.
But Id rather go on hearing your lies (please, please do not tell the truth)
Than go on living without you.
Now the stage is bare and Im standing there
With emptiness all around
And if you wont come back to me
Then make them bring the curtain down.

Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

Posted by friendofpeltier on 12/12/08 at 01:44 AM | #

Elvis? Maybe! That whole song is worth reading to really get FOPs great point.

Knox was apparently the only one filmed who has not yet been to trial.  Perhaps not a smart move. The folks who made the film seem increasingly uncertain why they did it.

They submitted it for the festival, but they are also claiming that it was a social work, for the remediation of future prisoners. (Skep got that one right!)

This helpful synopsis is from the London Times.

<ul>Mr Carini said the film portrayed an “imaginary journey” in which the 12 women prisoners escape the confines of the jail to explore “metaphorical cities” representing the worlds of “cinema, work, music, loneliness, madness and dreams.” It ends when they enter the seventh and last “city” and find they are back in prison.</ul>

Back in prison?! Well, that would sure help the future prisoners adjust…  they’d be raring to get their hands on Knox!

I hope she has claimed her royalties up front.

Posted by Fast Pete on 12/12/08 at 02:03 AM | #

On a more serious note, I wonder if there is a connection between the film (and crew) and Frank’s frank fake interview.  Could someone the film crew be the hollow cake conduit?

Posted by friendofpeltier on 12/12/08 at 02:36 AM | #

Seems really likely, as Frank was also in film-making. Could this be yet another case of a “friend” of Amanda doing her no favors?

Here’s a thought provoker. Name ONE person who you think is advancing her real interests. Other than us - obliquely - I cannot think of any.

Posted by Fast Pete on 12/12/08 at 03:26 AM | #

It’s clear that the media wouldn’t have bothered to write a single line about the film project hadn’t A.Knox been one of the actresses, and the name of the obscure maker of the film would have remained unknown to the public for who knows how long, perhaps forever. But now Mr Carini has gained the domestic and international exposure that he wouldn’t even dream of, had he only used unidentified inmates for his movie.

How sad that Meredith’s horrible death has been once again exploited by ruthless seekers of notoriety and money.

At least it’s good news that several Italian politicians have immediately reacted by putting forward official complaints (“interrogazioni”) to the Parliament. Furthermore the President of Regione Umbra, after stressing that it is up to the director of Capanne to select the convicts for these reeducation activities, has stated that this film will never be sold to anyone in Italy or elsewhere.

While it is not clear why A.Knox was selected for this reeducation program, since she has not received a conviction sentence yet, it must also be said that there are two more inmates awaiting trial who have participated to the making of the movie, after having obtained permission from a judge ( La Nazione

Posted by Nicki on 12/12/08 at 02:18 PM | #

Skep, thanks for writing this.  My thinking is the way they will make it acceptable is to deny it, a la the release of her diary that Curt and Edda gave an interview about, saying they released it to clear her name but then when it caused further damage, it suddenly became another infamous prosecutor leak.  I can only imagine the spin they will put on this. 

Their every attempt at erasing the memory of Meredith has backfired.  It doesn’t make it any less repulsive, but there is some justice in that.

I am beyond words to describe the cruel and unnecessary insult this must be to the Kercher family.  My heart is with them.

Posted by Corrina on 12/12/08 at 05:34 PM | #

Corrina, some of us come here because of the generally high level of objectivity displayed by the regular posters. In that spirit I think you need to moderate your comments.

It is obvious to me and I think others here that AK’s parents’ intention is to try and clear their daughter’s name in the genuine (probably mistaken) belief that she is telling them the truth. They are not trying to insult Meredith or erase her memory, just trying to extricate themselves from her tragic story.

In any case it was reported some time ago that AK had joined a theatre group at the prison and her participation in this film probably stemmed from that. Unlikely that either family or defence lawyers influenced her decision to take part.

It also goes without saying that with any other prisoner involved in the film there are the same considerations of the victims’ family to ponder. I agree that using Amanda looks highly cynical but if you’re going to tackle prison reform at all you need real examples, and there’s no logical reason why the Kerchers should be protected above any other family from having their (alleged) nemesis featured.

Posted by MikeMCSG on 12/12/08 at 06:49 PM | #

Mike, with all due respect, I think Corinna also appreciates the objectivity we strive to maintain here. So far, there has been no response from the official spokespeople for Amanda Knox to the growing controversy (see Pete’s post above).

Personally, I don’t think it matters why or how AK came to participate in this film. It was reported yesterday that she asked to be in it and her request was granted. It is impossible to believe that this event would go by unnoticed, and that is part of the problem.

How can you complain about media coverage and then do nothing to minimize it? How can anyone involved—from AK to her entourage to the director and regional politicians—not have seen the fallout this would create? And here I’m talking not just about the media fallout, but also the fallout for Meredith’s family.

The difference between Knox and the other inmates in the film is that she has international notoriety and they do not. And she is suspected in the murder of the Kerchers daughter. And the trial is scheduled to begin within a month. when I add these three factors up, I get “special protection” is warranted for the Kerchers. Haven’t they suffered enough?

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 12/12/08 at 07:32 PM | #

I was wondering if anyone could tell me the names of the other “actresses” starring in this film?

Didn’t think so…

Posted by Tara on 12/12/08 at 10:22 PM | #

Skep, I don’t dispute the awful timing and the cynicism of giving Amanda a key role whether that’s due to her notoriety or beauty.
I’m just making the point that the other prisoners involved had victims too. I wouldn’t want to deny the Kerchers any due sympathy but it always worries me when people start viewing ordinary human beings (Princess Diana,the Soham girls,Nancy Kerrigan)through a hagiographical prism.

Posted by MikeMCSG on 12/13/08 at 12:25 PM | #

About Amanda Knox’s acting, I’d like to check a perception of mine to see whether it’s reasonably objective or not.

One thing that has struck me about Amanda Knox since she first started appearing in the news last year is that she seems to have a protean quality. She looks very different in different photos. I wouldn’t recognize her from one to another if it weren’t for the caption to say who she is. Has anyone else here thought so? The only exception I’ve seen to this is that her photos on her family’s fund-raising web page all resemble each other. But photos of Amanda from her MySpace page and from court appearances vary so widely. Most people by the time they’re her age have a habitual palette of expressions, a characteristic look that’s recognizable throughout the range of their emotions. Amanda Knox’s photos give me a sense of someone whose identity hasn’t firmed up yet that way.

Some actors have this kind of quality. Marilyn Monroe could famously pass without attention on a city street until she consciously adopted her “Marilyn” look, expression, and stance. She used to enjoy tricking people with her chameleon skills. Tyrone Power, I think, once said that a good actor should be able to look unshaven at will, without needing literal stubble on his face. (Or someone said this about him—I don’t remember exactly.)

Posted by CarolJ on 12/13/08 at 08:42 PM | #

CarolJ said, “One thing that has struck me about Amanda Knox since she first started appearing in the news last year is that she seems to have a protean quality. She looks very different in different photos. I wouldn’t recognize her from one to another if it weren’t for the caption to say who she is.”

Yopu are so right on!  I thought it was me.  Google AK’s images and it looks like many different people.  Great call.  The pix where she is expressionless creep me out.  It’s like many of her emotions are purposefull and not automatic.

Posted by Easy Ed on 12/14/08 at 02:30 AM | #

First off, thanks to Fast Pete for a dignified site for justice for Meredith Kercher. A great many people have followed this case, perhaps partly because of the horror of the crime followed by the shamelesness of the accused and perhaps partly because Meredith Kercher could have been any of our daughters or sisters and was the last person in the world to deserve such a fate.

It’s probably not a popular thought, but I have some residual sympathy for the parents of AK though it has been taxed by their complete self absorbtion and lack of compassion for the real victims. They seem to be trying to explain away or blot out inconvenient actions so they can hold on to a view of their daughter as innocent victim. A role that they so desperately want and need to be true. Unfortunately for them it looks increasingly like being just a role, with their daughter, as many who encountered her have noted, living in a different world. At the trial she will be made to face some harsh realities and it looks like being a car crash for the Knox clan.

AK’s ability to put her foot in it at every opportunity is quite astounding. I can only explain it as complete narcissism; oblivious to anybody else’s feelings. First rule of an accused person: Only do what the lawyer says and don’t do anything unless he says so. As her lawyers have asked for the film to be not shown, did she keep it from them too? Hard to see them agreeing to it.
She does love her little surprises to spring and secrets to keep. Hardly a good idea to let the judges know that she is a natural and enthusiastic actress.

Posted by Faustus on 12/14/08 at 02:17 PM | #

Faustus -my thoughts exactly so you’ve got at least one person for company.

Posted by MikeMCSG on 12/14/08 at 09:02 PM | #

Faustus - many thanks for your eloquent comments, and as Mike MCSG commented, you are not alone in your thoughts.

Posted by Socrates42 on 12/15/08 at 03:54 PM | #

Mike, Faustus, Easy Ed, Carol J and Socrates42,

I agree with all of you. The dangers of hagiography are great and ultimately do no service to the victim. In the case of Meredith, her family is providing strong guidance in how to honor the memory of their daughter without trying to beatify her. On the few occasions they have spoken on the record, their comments about Meredith have reminded us that she was above all a human being.

As for the other prisoners who took part in the film, we don’t know their names (as Tara points out) and we don’t know the nature of their crimes. But yes, they have victims too and also family.

However, this prisoner is already internationally known, so…What was the director of the film thinking? And given that Knox has already been perceived as “an actress” (and not in a good way), what was she thinking?

As for Knox’s parents, it can’t be easy to be in their position. I have been criticized for saying that elsewhere, but it remains true. After all, they are not on trial for murder and their denial is genuine if misguided. Does that make sense? I have seen up-close how strong the parental urge to explain unacceptable behavior away can be.

Their use of the media may be questionable and excessive, but they have certainly been encouraged by certain media and probably ill advised by their own PR firm. If I have a criticism here, it is that their campaign has been fairly aggressive in ways that often appear insensitive to the victim.

Finally, the “protean” nature of Knox in photos is striking. I would attribute this to dis-ease in front of a camera were it not rather obvious that Knox seems to enjoy being in front of it.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 12/15/08 at 05:54 PM | #

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