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Artículo Casting JonBenét: an innovative exploration of one of the most infamous child murders of all time Culture

Culture

Casting JonBenét: an innovative exploration of one of the most infamous child murders of all time

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Playground Traduccion

17 Febrero 2017 17:49

Neighbours and volunteers from Boulder look back on the tragedy and share their theories.

The murder of JonBenét Ramsey shook the US. Now, a new documentary explores the event from a different perspective

JonBenét Ramsey was a child beauty pageant queen. When she was just six years old, she was kidnapped and murdered.

Now, a new documentary, Casting JonBenét by director Kitty Green, revisits this heartbreaking tragedy that traumatised the USA.

The nightmare began just after Christmas. On 26 December 1996, JonBenét's parents, computer company president John Bennett Ramsey, and his wife, Patricia Ramsey – a former beauty queen, woke up to find their daughter missing from her bed.

In her place was a note stating that JonBenét had been kidnapped and that if they wanted to see her again they would have to pay around $118,000: the amount that John had recently received as a bonus from his company. There was one condition: don't tell the police.

JonBenét's parents ignored the condition and informed the police. Eight hours later, their daughter was found dead in the basement of their home in Boulder, Colorado. She had been sexually abused and strangled.

The kidnappers said that if John and Patricia wanted to see their daughter again they would have to pay around $118,000 and not go to the police.

The murder was never solved and the identity of the perpetrator is still unknown. For a while, JonBenét's mother and her brother, Burke, were under suspicion, until, in 2008, the Boulder Country District Attorney exonerated them from any involvement.

Now, more than 20 years later, the documentary Casting JonBenét takes an innovative approach to revisiting the case. In the film, which has played the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale to rave reviews, director Kitty Green stages a casting call for young actresses to play JonBenét in a movie. As well as filming the girls as they audition for the role, Green interviews the hopefuls and their parents about the murder.

We witness the actors – all from Colorado and therefore familiar with the events – trying out for parts as the Ramsey family, the police, Santa Claus and others. We hear their opinions on the murder, and even their theories about what really happened to the young beauty queen. They also open up about the losses and personal tragedies in their own lives.

Building on this fusion of reality and fiction, the film also reveals how the horrific event and the subsequent media frenzy turned the bereaved family's lives upside down.

The crime was never solved. For a while, the girl's mother and brother were even suspects

The format is similar to that of Green's previous documentary The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul, which is composed of screen tests of six girls from different parts of Ukraine auditioning for the role of a Oksana Baiul: the figure skater who won the nation's first Olympic Gold medal.

Casting JonBenét explores the repercussions that the child's unsolved murder had on those who were close to her, and looks at how the event impacted on American society. The film also lays bare the wounds that still, more than 20 years later, have yet to heal.

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