Casting JonBenét | Chicago Reader

Casting JonBenét

Rated NR 2017

The unsolved 1996 murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey generated a tidal wave of tabloid garbage; this documentary by Kitty Green surfs atop it, exploiting the crime no less but giving it an art-film respectability. Two decades after the little girl was killed in Boulder, Colorado, Green shows up to audition local actors for a dramatization of the story, having them read as JonBenet's mother, father, and older brother (all of whom were paraded as suspects by the media) and others involved in the case. These amateur and lightly credentialed performers act out key moments, their work presented in montage, and in interviews with Green they open up about their own memories of the crime and their theories about the family members. One reveals that he's had the experience of finding a person dead, another lets slip that she's lost three children, and another confesses that he once protected his guilty son from the police. This has been described as a hybrid documentary, but the other component appears to be an audience discussion from an afternoon talk show.

Film Credits

Director: Kitty Green

Producer: Kitty Green and James Schamus

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