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AILEEN WUORNOS: THE SELLING OF A SERIAL KILLER

UK, 1992 (MIFF 1993, Documentaries)

Director: Nick Broomfield

Between 1990 and 1991, Aileen Carol Wuornos, a 35-year-old prostitute, killed seven men. The FBI termed her "America's first female serial killer".

British documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield unites his interest in social outsiders and oversized personalities — as seen in his other works, Soldier Girls, Monster in a Box and Driving Me Crazy, all seen at previous MIFF's — in this quizzical look at the horror-show hype that has surrounded Wuornos. The film is not a sensationalised recapitulation of crime but an investigation of a different order. Broomfield's quest for truth, in the quagmire of fast-buck fascination, becomes his central motif, as he charts her personal history to reveal an infinitely more complex portrait, a defendant who is culpable and a victim.

Weeks before incarceration — and unbeknownst to her — Wuornos had already spawned a macabre cottage industry that included book and movie deals (with amazing disclosures that police officers reportedly began discussions with Hollywood one month before her arrest!). The director encounters incredible characters who have attached themselves to her like Arlene Pralle, a born-again Christian who adopted Wuornos in '91 and Steven Glazer the self promoting, guitar strumming, singing public defendant, who is her lawyer.

Broomfield also is very much a player in the tale he seeks to tell - the apparant irony at the heart of this documentary is that he, like all the others, is there with a camera and a microphone, filming an individual who feeds our most prurient, voyeuristic desires - yet, like The Thin Blue Line, the story of Aileen Wuornos powerfully transcends its limits because, as its core, a life hangs in the balance unfairly skewed.

See also...

HIS BIG WHITE SELF

“I never thought in my worst nightmares that 14 years later I'd feel compelled to track down His Big White Self.” - filmmaker Nick Broomfield Nick Broomfield's 1991 documentary, The Leader, His ... More »

THE LEADER, HIS DRIVER, & THE DRIVER'S WIFE

A black comedy about the white right in South Africa. The Leader, His Driver and The Driver's Wife, examines issues of white racism from the oblique angle of the innocent documentary maker abroad ... More »

DRIVING ME CRAZY

... ... Take an egocentric German 'empressario' with plans to produce the biggest theatrical event in the history of showbiz; a (respected) film producer with grandiose plans for a film of the show ... More »

GHOSTS

“A valuably tactless, steady, clear-eyed look at the tragedy and cruelty of the new globalised serfdom.” - The Guardian In February 2004, 23 illegal Chinese immigrants were drowned while cockle ... More »

MONSTER IN A BOX

... ... This is a film. This is no ordinary film. Mon­ster In A Box is like no other film you've ever seen — unless you saw Swimming To Cam­bodia at the 1988 Melbourne Film Festival ... More »

BATTLE FOR HADITHA

God is on all sides, but not in Haditha. ... On 19 November 2005, US Marines retaliated to a bombing attack on one of their vehicles by massacring 24 Iraqi non-combatants - innocent men, women and ... More »

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