Article Title:Review: Reflections of the Past
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:25th May 2011 - 08:03 am
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Story ID:10397
Text:The Parker-Hulme Murder is a case all New Zealanders are aware of, something which left the nation shocked when two teenage girls bludgeoned to death one of their mothers with a brick in a stocking in Christchurch's Victoria Park in 1954. Peter Jackson's masterful film Heavenly Creatures explored the case in a beautifully fictitious way, but the case has been one that for many has left more questions than answers. One of the many intrigued by the case is American filmmaker Alexander Roman, who has explored some of those unanswered questions in his self-funded documentary Reflections of the Past. Roman speaks to school peers of the teenage killers Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, descendants of some of those involved in the case and a variety of researchers, writers and experts about their impressions of what happened. Of the many questions he delves into is whether the teenagers really were lesbians, as put forward by both the defence and prosecution. While no definitive answers emerge and it's left up to the viewer to form their own impression, the exploration of what the response to lesbianism was at the time is intriguing. A fellow student recalls having to read the newspaper coverage of the murder trial with a dictionary because she had no idea what words like lesbian even meant, while women who are now out say the fact there even was such a thing as lesbians, and they weren't the only one, was an awakening. Researcher Alison Laurie perhaps best sums it up when she says only Pauline and Juliet will ever know whether they were in a lesbian relationship or not. And with the latter denying it ever was and the former refusing to talk, it will perhaps never be known. While Heavenly Creatures is fantastical, this Reflections of the Past is rational. Overall it's a fascinating look at the murder which gets your mind ticking, leaving you to make your own conclusions and form fresh questions about the case which halted the nation all those decades ago. Jacqui Stanford - 25th May 2011    
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