Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Invisible Darkness turns Deadly

O.K., so the title is misleading: Deadly (2005), the film about Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka’s psychological dance with death and depravity isn't based on the Stephen Williams' book Invisible Darkness; in fact, despite buying the rights to the book in 1994, Director Peter Simpson abandoned the project in the face of public outcry, especially from St. Catherines.

According to the Toronto Star, Deadly "was written through court transcripts and other evidence in the public domain... [and writer Manette Rosen's interviews] with police involved in the [Bernardo and Homolka] case at headquarters, as well as a crown attorney..."

I recently received a copy of the 2001 petition to stop Simpson's Bernardo film. (Whether it had anything to do with Simpson dropping the movie, I don't know.) Of the 70 or so names attached, over half were from St. Catherines, and all but a few were Ontarians. One signatory - at least I assume they signed it... as much as you can sign an electronic document without using a digital signature - included the comment:
Some things are just too important NOT to pass on - I hope you agree.

Of course I agree that some things are important enough to speak out about - some things are important enough to fight for, in my opinion - but I don't agree that the making of this movie qualifies.

Why? Because the story is out of my hands; it's out of everyone's hands. It happened, at least two books tell the story, and people will continue to talk about it, despite the heroic efforts - in scale only; the deliberate destruction of records is despicable and barbaric! - of Danson to wipe what really happened from the face of the earth: again, from The Star:
[Tim] Danson [lawyer for the families of victims Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy] even won an order to have the Ontario attorney-general's office burn the Bernardo-Homolka videos, as well as autopsy photos and other evidence, in a precedent-setting move.

Burn, no less! The bile rises in my throat just thinking about it. Fahrenheit 451 made real! Whatever his motives, that was just wrong! And that gets back to the petition: I'm sure all those people from St. Catherines hoped they were helping the families of Bernardo and Homolka's victims in some small way by signing that petition - heck, maybe some of them even know one of the families - but you know what? It doesn't matter. Period.

The only thing that matters is how those families live each day: if they look to the world to forget what happened to their daughters, sisters, etc. - even for some period of time, because how long is enough? Who can say? - they will continue to be disappointed and hurt; and, no less importantly, they'll be killing those women again, and all they did with their lives. If, however, they look within themselves and to each other for support, nothing, not books, movies, not even tourists (think Jack the Ripper and you know they'll come), will be able to steal more moments of their lives.

Time does not heal all wounds.


CanuckJack said...

Well I certainly agree with you on this one. Trying to force this story out of existence won't in anyway lessen its reality.

My first thought upon reading the fact that the evidence was burnt was "don't they review evidence prior to, or during, parole hearings?"

The answer to that doesn't matter, we retain information, a.k.a. history, to ensure that mistakes that were made aren't repeated. Sick as it may sound a lot can be learnt from this tragedy, think: the study of human behavior and its application to criminology. I can imagine other areas of study that could benefit from this story.

As you said, don't further destroy these victims by denying society the chance to learn and possibly benefit from the telling of their story. Yes, it's disgusting. No, I don't want to see it, but that does not mean that the story shouldn't be told, and certainly doesn't mean that the facts should not be retained.

Inukje said...

Hoi John!

I went to high school with Paul. He even came to my house for parties. You would have never thought "This guy is likely to rape 21 women and...etc."

It would be dangerous to destroy the evidence.

The former prisoners and the families of former prisoners of Auschwitz didnt ask that it be buried and forgotten. They know that it is important to remember that evil can be done....