The story of one crime: in life, in literature and in cinema

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Today, the name of the New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson is known throughout the world. His films The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit received many awards, were a major commercial success and conquered millions of viewers' hearts, including the admirers of J. R. R. Tolkien, who followed the screen adventures of their favorite literary characters with bated breath. However, connoisseurs of cinema had closely followed the work of Jackson for many years before the films' release, for his early films — above all, Heavenly Creatures, based on a monstrous real crime — impressed by the complexity of chosen topics and the outstanding directorial skills.

This essay analyzes Heavenly Creatures, exploring the reality of a terrible murder in a sleepy, little New Zealand town — the murder which was largely disclosed through explicit entries in the diary of one of the criminals; and which became the basis for the film's plot. In no way justifying the criminals, Jackson, however, makes it clear that the incident was also the fault of the adults who did not see and did not want to see the difficult situation of their daughters. To ban, to punish — such “educational” measures largely anticipated the tragic ending: harmless fantasies turned into a tragedy. The action of the film could take place in any town, and not only in New Zealand. The film's warning - don't be indifferent to your children — was understood by all viewers, regardless of their country.

The essay looks at how the film was made by an artist who knew how to combine — and make this combination credible — art house and commercial cinema, surrealism (and other aesthetics of shock) and hard realism.

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Zvegintseva Irina A.

Dr. Sc. (Art Studies)

All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography named after S.A. Gerasimov
, Vilgelma Pika, 3, Moscow city, 129226

Author for correspondence.


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Shot from the film "Do not deliver us from the evil one" (1971). Director J. Seria

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2. “Heavenly Creatures” (1994). Director P. Jackson

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3. “Heavenly Creatures” (1994). Director P. Jackson

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4. “Heavenly Creatures” (1994). Director P. Jackson

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5. “Heavenly Creatures” (1994). Director P. Jackson

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6. “Heavenly Creatures” (1994). Director P. Jackson

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Copyright (c) 2019 Zvegintseva I.A.

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