I don’t remember George Franklin’s 1990 murder trial, one of the nation’s first trials that revolved almost exclusively around the phenomenon of repressed memory, but I totally remember when suddenly all the broadcast proceedings began to begin. The first has plots often built around repressed memories.
Or maybe I am not? Maybe I watched a repeat of Law of LA – perhaps “I’m ready for my Close-up, Mr. Markowitz,” from 1992 – and synthesize that into the recollection of countless similar episodes? Maybe I just read a description of that episode Law of LA and was able to imagine the rest of the episode?
A gripping story that goes side by side with its final episode.
Memory is a complex thing, as it involves deeper trauma than frivolous assumptions. Even psychologists, psychiatrists and other experts on the inner workings of the human brain have difficulty explaining how memory works, what causes it to not work. and how much we can trust our own memories, less than anyone else. The lack of clear answers drives the Showtime documentary series by Yotam Guendelman and Ari Pines Burialexplores the twists and turns behind Franklin’s trial, building three dramatic yet gripping episodes before the final hour’s end.
In 1969, 8-year-old Susan Nason went missing in Foster City, just south of San Francisco. Her body was found 10 weeks later, and the murder remained unsolved until 1989, when Eileen Franklin revealed that she remembered being with her father, George, when he raped and murdered her. Susan, Eileen’s best friend. As Eileen recounted, she was playing with her daughter when her daughter’s similarities to Susan triggered a series of graphic memories. There was no evidence to tie George Franklin, a former firefighter, with a crime, but with the strength of Eileen’s story, he was arrested and put on trial for murder, a case that became a referendum on the nature of memory. How reliable are Eileen’s recollections? To what extent is it legally applicable in cases of recollection? And what would it take to convince the jury to believe Eileen and convict George?
In a short time, Eileen Franklin became the focus of the national media. She appeared on every available TV show, from Donahue arrive Oprah arrive Larry King. Those countless interviews, plus her testimony at her father’s trial, are at the heart of Burial. It makes perfect sense for Eileen not to participate Burialbut it doesn’t make for a good narrative, because Burial wanted to tell the most intimate and personal story imaginable, but it had to do so exclusively from the outside.
Burial wanted to talk about memory and repression, and instead it was mostly about experimentation. Its key participants include prosecution attorney Elaine Lipton, defense attorney for George Franklin Doug Horngrad, true-crime writer Harry MacLean, trauma and memory experts from both sides of the case. and a group of people with a very distant connection to Eileen Franklin and the murder of Susan Nason – neighbors, childhood friends and more.
Instead of sticking to a simple chronology, Guendelman and Pines use experimentation as a pivot. You will watch the first episode convinced that one side is right. You will end up feeling the second as if you were an idiot for thinking what you were thinking an hour earlier. You’ll end the third episode indecisively, and then you’ll end up wondering why the directors thought they had a four-hour documentary to make out of this story. .
The events described took place 30 and 50 years ago, and it’s like people’s perception of them has been trapped in amber. That includes directors, who make no effort to track how the past two decades have changed their views on key information in the case. With no one named Franklin appearing in the documentary, they can’t really follow the lives of the central characters beyond a certain point. They’re left without a strong argument, which might be oddly relevant since it’s so easy to access online – after you’ve watched four episodes, if you don’t like spoiled history – and Read articles by legal scholars, some arguing that the full story proves one thing, others insisting on a stark contrast.
The case and the legal disparity it created are still so crude that figures like Horngrad and memory scientist Elizabeth Loftus can comfortably smirk and roll their eyes as they give their views on a case. crimes involving incest and taboo nightmares other than murder. I don’t know if talking heads are required to process information like new, and not be reflective and introspective, or if that’s just the approach they all chose.
I admire some of how Guendelman and Pines have managed to use re-enactments to visualize the fragmented and erratic filtering we go through whenever we look back. They used scenes with dim, nostalgic lighting. They build the image into complex split screens. They label everything with a Very ’80s font, free of the constraints of a Stephen King novel, to blur the lines between horror and real horror. They also use audio interviews and occasional news clips without on-screen identification. At first, I was frustrated because I didn’t know which material was real and which was fabricated, but after three episodes, I chose to believe that intentionality was going on and not due to shoddy filmmaking. But the fourth episode abandons all of the original dramatic pretentiousness.
The series is generally evasive, withholding some information only for surprises at the end of the volume, accepting certain statements as true without any justification and introduction and then Ignore the seemingly big details. Again, these have some thematic relationship to the story being told, but the deliberate irritation is still the discomfort when a confusing and compelling story turns into something indecisive. guess. It’s not their fault that Guendelman and Pines are not reporters or detectives and cannot give concrete answers to unsolvable mysteries. I leave Burial It felt like I was watching an interesting story that was partially unfolded, and without any additional insight from the interspersed decades. The result is the perception of a landmark case, a few hours of tumultuous entertainment, but no insight.
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