Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Best Meredith-Case Documentary Ever - One Intensely Compassionate To Meredith

Posted by Nicki

As many here know, I am an Italian-American who lives and works in Milan in northern Italy and who follows the case closely in Italian.

On TJMK here I have posted repeatedly on the DNA dimension and on the public perceptions in Italy of Meredith, Amanda Knox, and the campaign.

A week ago today, those public perceptions sharpened very noticeably.

One of the three largest national TV networks here, LA7, broadcast a one-hour documentary on the case. This was months in the making, the most costly production to date, and compelling for the depth and objectivity of the reporting.

And absolutely compelling for its extreme compassion toward Meredith, a loved and revered figure in Italy, for whom the cruel and untimely nature of her passing has led to a lot of outrage and sadness. 

If there were any dry eyes among the very large Italian viewership of LA7 by the end of the broadcast, it would be quite surprising.

The production’s power to move comes from its placing of Meredith right at the beginning (her church and her chaplain), repeatedly in the middle (people in England who knew her, including one who was with her in Perugia) and right at the end, where there is a scene in the cemetery where Meredith was buried of almost transcendental beauty and sadness.

The documentary (so far) is only watchable online in Italian, with Italian voice-overs of the many interviews that were carried out in English in the UK and in Seattle. 

The arguments of the Knox supporters in Part One came across as tired, weak, clutching at straws, playing on emotions, and avoiding hard facts, and well-informed Italian viewers probably tuned out the droning and confused Ann Bremner. Sympathy shown for Meredith and her family was around zero.

In sharp contrast, the Croydon and Leeds segments on Meredith in both parts, especially the second with the deeply-hurting Samantha Rodenhurst, sounded new, fresh, authentic, interesting, and very moving, and would have had Italian viewers transfixed. And Charles Mudede in Seattle was extremely effective in puncturing FOA hype.

For those with no Italian, which seems to be the huge majority of our readership, we have posted below a large number of still images from the broadcast, to convey the ground that was covered in Italy, the United States, and England..

The producers were largely guided, we believe, by the Italy-based American journalist Andrea Vogt, who appears several times to give effective commentary and who is credited at the end.

There is nothing really new on Amanda Knox, who herself does not feature very prominently, and virtually nothing at all on Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede.

New in the Italy segments is an interview with the prosecutor, Mr Mignini, who observes that the FOA’s claims about the true strength of the case are simply flat-out wrong. He notes that they are not based on a thorough knowledge of the evidence presented or of the Italian judicial system.

New in the America segments are interviews with four University of Washington students, only one of whom thinks Amanda Knox is innocent and then with no great conviction. Interviews with two of Amanda Knox’s teachers at Seattle Prep, who found her to be pretty normal at the time. And highly insightful commentary by the Seattle journalist Charles Mudede.

And new in the England segment are interviews with Meredith’s chaplain at her former school, who also conducted her funeral service, and with Kirsty Whalley, a reporter for the Croydon Guardian. Also with a Croydon caféteria owner who served Meredith many meals of cheeseburgers and chips, and with four students at the University of Leeds, who were keen to see the thing over and properly reported upon so the Kercher family could perhaps find some peace.

Perhaps most moving of all were the many short segments with Samantha Rodenhurst. Samantha and Meredith became very close friends in the few weeks they were together in Perugia, and Samantha was one of the girls Meredith shared a pizza with on a bed, watching the movie The Notebook, before Meredith headed home to her final cruel fate.

We will later add some translations to the three posts directly below. [Many are now added.] The overwhelming sentiment of the program seems to me this: May Meredith finally rest in peace now, and her family be given respite from the Knox hype of the cruel campaign.

I doubt that many Italians feel any differently. Amanda Knox herself and the campaign have ensured that.

Posted by Nicki on 11/11/09 at 04:44 AM in Various hypothesesExcellent reportingMovies on case


Thank you Nicki for all that precious information! I haven’t had time to look at it in details now (I am at work), but I will, and as I understand Italian, I will certainly appreciate this well expected work!

I guess the Knoxes (I once mistakenly wrote “the foxes”...will find it hard to digest!

Posted by Patou on 11/11/09 at 07:14 PM | #

Well done Nicki and Pete in making this excellent production more accessible to the English-speaking audience.

It is a most honest and unbiased presentation of the facts of the case, supported by interviews of those involved by an exceptionally competent bilingual reporter; English speakers will be able to gain quite an amount of understanding from the underlying English-language interviews which are voiced-over in Italian. 

As Nicki says, this moving account is firmly focussed on the tragic protagonist in this wicked crime: Meredith Kercher.

There is no manipulation of the facts or of the viewer, but the main spokesperson for the FOA reveals her own strident partisanship, while PM Mignini - a gentle, avuncular figure - succinctly points out the ignorance of the noisy critics of the conduct of the case.  They display an ignorance of the huge body of evidence and complete unfamiliarity with the Italian system of justice.

The early photos of Amanda, her family’s and her teachers’ memories of her are - sadly - in stark contrast with the girl who who is revealed in her court appearance and her inebriated inanities on video.

Posted by Tiziano on 11/11/09 at 11:28 PM | #

Very nice and thank you to LA7 for giving us this presentation. For those of us who did not know Meredith this news provides precious insight.

I am sad at seeing her casket but we all know how much love embraced her and I am grateful this was shared in such a respectful manner.

Posted by Professor Snape on 11/12/09 at 07:26 AM | #

Thank you so much for your efforts to share details of this broadcast. (and everything else!) it’s really appreciated.and heartening to be reassured again that FOA lies are not winning out.

Posted by bucketoftea on 11/12/09 at 01:01 PM | #

Thank you for sharing this!!!  I wish they would release such a documentary over here in the US, but sadly, I doubt it will happen.  The documentary was very moving from the opening scene.  Can anyone tell me what they asked Meredith’s minister at the end and what his response was?  I tried to listen through the Italian voice over, but couldn’t make the words out.  Thanks!

Posted by chira385 on 11/12/09 at 04:18 PM | #

Thank you Nikki for this. At last! Some intelligent reporting. It must be such a comfort to Meredith’s family. I wish I could hear the English words through the voice over however and a shame it will not be released over here. Maybe when justice is done something will be produced over here. I feel so sorry for that gentle, dignified, private family being thrust into the spotlight in this way. God bless them.

And not for the first time I felt deep sadness for Deanna - another one to suffer through all this. She must miss her sister and struggle inside to come to terms with what is happening. I felt very sad for her seeing this. She has not chosen this family to be born into. She is no more than a child. What a way to lose your innocence.

All in all it is a horrific car crash for so many people. The evil rippling outwards seems never to end. And yet if the pact of silence between the Amanda creature and her sidekick could be broken everyone would stand some chance of rebuilding their lives. How the Knox/Mellas can live with themselves I do not know.

Posted by TT on 11/12/09 at 05:23 PM | #

Thank you, Nicki, for the description of this wonderful Italian program, and also for the screen-shots and translations below. It is so nice to finally get a perspective that focuses on the victim of this horrific crime.

Hello, everyone at TJMK. I am new here, and somewhat new in my interest in this case. Although I’d heard about it before, I hadn’t really looked into it much until recently. I’ve been learning and reading a lot here and at other Meredith-sympathetic sites on the Internet. Thanks for all the hard work you have all done to assemble clear presentations of the evidence, and to comment sensitively on this case.

In the end, I am so sad over the loss of this beautiful creature we see to our left. So tragic and sad. I am dedicating a dance class next week to Meredith (i.e., I have to come up with about 10 songs for us to dance to). If anyone wants to suggest music that would be a fitting tribute to Meredith, please PM me. So far, I am going to use “May It Be” by Enya (Lord of the Rings soundtrack) and “Brave” by Jennifer Lopez.

Posted by Earthling on 11/12/09 at 09:20 PM | #

Yes, in answer to an email from the media, our translator says that Curt Knox really did make this comment to the camera: “The Kerchers lost their daughter, but we can still hope to get ours back.” Both Curt Knox and Edda Mellas seem to have come out with this line before.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/12/09 at 10:29 PM | #

Earthling, that is a BEAUTIFUL idea!  I am sending you some songs now.

Posted by chira385 on 11/12/09 at 11:11 PM | #

Thanks, Chira. And thanks for the song suggestions. I have also read that Meredith enjoyed ballet dancing as a child, so perhaps this is fitting.

Posted by Earthling on 11/13/09 at 09:32 AM | #

Nicki, your post rocks! Mille grazi.

Earthling, your dance class to honor Meredith is perfect. I think one of her fave songs was “With or Without You,” (not sure how good for dance rhythm). Good luck!

Posted by Hopeful on 11/13/09 at 05:08 PM | #

Thanks, Hopeful! As far as that U2 song, thanks for the suggestion! I had heard also from Chira that that was one of her favorites. However, at some point (for the sake of the dancers) I have to limit the number of “sad” songs, so I think I will probably use Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For or One Man (in the Name of Love). Thanks again, and I’ll let you all know how it goes!

Posted by Earthling on 11/13/09 at 10:13 PM | #

Thank you so much, Nicki, for this extensive post and for continuing to fill in the translations. The documentary did seem to be very balanced, without unnecessary drama, and quite beautiful. But not being able to hear or understand what was being said was frustrating. So I really appreciate your efforts to make up for that.

Watching it today was actually the first time I heard Amanda giving testimony in English. I found it chilling. Her responses seemed so calculated, and at times, she seemed almost exasperated at having to explain herself. After all this time of following the case, and hearing others describe her behavior in court, I shouldn’t be surprised by that behavior, but seeing it in action was still a little shocking—frightening, actually. For someone so young to be in court on such a serious charge, and to appear so self-possessed, it’s easier and easier for me to see how disturbed and how disconnected from reality she really is.

I’m not defending her parents—her mother, especially, can’t extract much, if any, sympathy from me—but still, I feel compassion for them. It must be horrendous to fear that your child is a murderer; to think that you raised a murderer; that all the world is looking at you and wondering if or thinking that your child is a murderer—a monster. All the while, having to get on with your life and be there for your other children. I think that’s partly why Curt Knox sometimes says things that seem so callous. I think he’s desperately trying to keep it together and to believe Amanda was not responsible for Meredith’s murder. I think Edda is just a mess. Their lives are shattered, not by grief, the way the Kerchers’ lives are shattered, but by guilt and shame.

Posted by wayra on 11/14/09 at 03:29 AM | #

Hi Wayra. Yes, that video segment of AK on the stand is from day one. We posted a seven-minute video in English that may affect you the same way. Later that day AK dismissed the interpreter and continued in Italian.

On day two she joked about Meredith’s death several times and probably cooked herself right there. Here is a report by Fiori in Florence after watching what was broadcast of day two in Italian. Both parents made out that the testimony was a great success. It obviously lost something in translation.

It’s perhaps worth recalling that both parents have been solidly behind the PR campaign, which has been as nasty as any that PR people in New York can remember, and a very large number of people have been slimed in the process. The collateral damage of that aggression has been huge. The pain that has resulted to the Kercher family and to Meredith’s friends has been appalling.

Amanda’s extreme quirks were apparently well known in Seattle and yet no-one had her checked out. Amanda was allowed to head off to an unusually unstructured situation in Perugia with very little money. News reporting has been highly perverted, the public widely lied-to, the image of Italy has suffered in the US, and Americans overseas have this cloud over them.  Meanwhile, Amanda Knox herself has so far gained nothing and a non-guilty verdict seems pretty unlikely

And the effort to erase Meredith from the public mind as the real victim and a huge lack of compassion for her or for her family is why this site came alive in the first place.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/14/09 at 04:05 AM | #

Thanks, Peter. I remember now that I did see the earlier video footage. For some reason, this segment struck me differently—perhaps following on the brief view of Amanda walking through the courtroom, where it looked like she did a version of the little “oopla” dance that the police officer or detective testified that she did at the crime scene. She is too young to know that people can see through her attempts to create images and impressions of youthful innocence.

As for her parents, again, I was not trying to defend them or excuse their behavior—rather seeking to understand. The Kerchers have been forced to live with the tragic, nightmarish loss of their beloved daughter. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have had to face the nightmarish reality that their beloved daughter may have caused this tragedy. As TT mentioned earlier, the only chance they will have of finding some measure of peace, let alone sanity, will be when they can acknowledge the wrong and devastating harm done by Amanda, and whatever role they had in contributing to her troubled past—instead of desperately trying to deny it—and seek forgiveness.

Posted by wayra on 11/14/09 at 04:28 PM | #

I just looked at the 2 videos. They are really objective and caring for Meredith. It is, eventually, comforting.

I noticed a thing in the first segment: two of Amanda’s teachers are talking about her, a woman and a man. They remember her as nice, caring etc… girl.

But when the reporter asks “Do you think it is possible that such a girl could change so drastically while abroad?” the woman looks immediately at the man, like she does not dare to have an opinion.

He waves “no” with his head, but she does not join him, She just keeps looking hesitantly at him.  I do not remember if, in the end, she does, but her reaction is very odd!

Posted by Patou on 11/15/09 at 12:41 AM | #
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