Friday, November 25, 2016

Amanda Knox, a Netflix documentary

Amanda Knox was wrongfully convicted in the much sensationalized murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher in 2007. The investigation and trial gained global interest because it had manifested into something it never was to begin with. Amanda Knox, a new Netflix documentary, explores to some degree, how this happened. I hope the intention was to make the public aware of the severe consequences misplaced hysteria can have. I first watched this documentary when it was released in September, and have been thinking about it a lot recently in regards to the presidential campaign and the vilification of Hillary Clinton.

Knox and Kercher were roommates while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. Kercher, 22, was from England, and Knox, 20, was from Seattle. Only weeks after first meeting, while Knox spent the night at a new boyfriend's house, Kercher was brutally murdered in the home her and Knox shared. Within a few days, Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecitio, became prime suspects because they didn't look sad enough.

Giuliano Mignini, chief prosecutor in the Knox murder trial, led the legal pack in fabricating her involvement with the murder. Mignini explains that while first questioning Knox, who became visibly shaken, "started hitting the palms of her hands on her ears. As if there was the memory of a noise, a sound, a scream, Meredith’s scream. Undoubtedly I started to suspect Amanda,” Mignini says.  How he ends up with this romanticized conclusion of Knox's inner voices is bizarre. 

Later in the documentary Mignini attempts to give us a play-by-play of the murder that night. Because Amanda was an "uninhibited" girl, Meredith must have "scolded her for her lack of morals." Amanda must have then felt "humiliated" in front of Raffaele and friend, Rudy Guede, and decided to murder Kercher. Mignini's opinion of Knox and how women act and react is gross. He then suggests that Raffaele Sollecitio and Rudy Guede only helped commit murder to indulge Amanda. Mignini is suggesting that the manipulating female is in total control of her subjects. Mignini reminds me of someone else who comes to illogical conclusions. Someone else who will demonize a woman for their own glory.

Mignini's rhetoric worked. The media helped fan the flames with headlines like, "She-devil with an angel face." "Heartless manipulator." "Concertante of sex." "Drug-fueled sex game gone wrong." "Foxy Knoxy." "Voodoo ritual." Tabloid journalism whipped the public into a frenzy. Needless to say, Knox, Sollecitio, and Guede went to prison.

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecitio, Giuliano Mignini, and Nick Pisa

Nick Pisa, a freelance journalist, was put on the front lines of the case. "I think now, looking back, some of the information that came out was just crazy really, and just completely made up. But hey, what are we supposed to do, you know? We are journalists and we are reporting what we are being told. It's not as if I can say, "Right, hold on a minute. I just want to double check that myself." And then I let my rival get in there first before me, and then, hey, I've lost the scoop. Not in the news game." Pisa said the story blew up in the first place because of the sexual intrigue, the "girl-on-girl crime." It's clear Pisa believes it would have been silly to abandon the notion that Knox committed the crime even though it was unsubstantiated.

Once Knox and Sollecitio appealed their conviction, due to insufficient evidence and contaminated DNA, the American media in particular took a more investigative approach. Rudy Guede's attorney, Walter Biscotti said, "It bothered me that the American media lectured us about the law. This courthouse, in 1308,  housed the first faculty of law in Europe. In America, in 1308, they were drawing buffalo in caves." This guy doesn't know basic American history.

Knox tries to make sense of her situation. "I think people love monsters. And when they get the chance, they want to see them. It's people projecting their fears. They want the reassurance that they know who the bad people are, and it's not them. So maybe that's what it is. We're all afraid. And fear makes people crazy."

Amanda Knox is available now on Netflix.

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