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The Laramie Project [DVD]
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Selected as the opening night premiere at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, The Laramie Project is a ground-breaking film based on the true story of a towns loss of innocence following the murder of a 21 year old University of Wyoming student.
Moises Kaufman (writer and director) and members of New Yorks Tectonic Theatre Project went to Laramie, Wyoming after the murder of Matthew Shepard. This is a film version of the play they wrote based on more than 200 interviews they conducted in Laramie. It mixes real news reports with actors portraying friends, family, cops, killers and other Laramie residents in their own words. It concludes with a Laramie staging of Angels in America a year after Matthew Shepards death.
Even though The Laramie Project has been edited down from almost three hours (the original length of the play) to a lean 96 minutes, the harrowing nature of the subject matter--the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard--and the clarity of the voices of the inhabitants of Laramie, Wyoming, give this film a remarkable emotional power. The Laramie Project was created from over 200 interviews conducted with Laramie residents before, during, and after the trials of the two boys who killed Shepard; the interviews create an amazing cross-section of American views on homosexuality, religion, class, privacy, and so much more besides. Even though it features an all-star cast--Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo, Christina Ricci, Peter Fonda, and Laura Linney are only a few of the recognisable faces--the material has not been glamorised and the performances are both honest and intimate. Even abbreviated, it's a remarkable piece of work. --Bret Fetzer
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Top customer reviews
In 1998, Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and left for dead. Five days later he died, and Laramie bacame one of the most talked about towns in America - the reason - Matthew was gay.
The beauty of the Laramie Project is that it doesn't focus on the murder of Matthew itself, but on the aftermath, and the lives of those left confused by events they thought could never happen in their town.
Stunning performances by a talented cast as well as some actual news footage make this film compelling viewing. I came away both horrified and touched by the senselessness and beauty of human nature, a theme this film juxtaposes effortlessly.
The Laramie Project is tough viewing, but definitely worth making time for.
Matthew died due to the injuries received in what was defined as a hate crime. He was gay, and two men took exception to it, beating him up and leaving him tied to a fence. The man that discovered him the following day thought at first he was a scarecrow. He was so disfigured that he just didn't seem a person any more. Matthew was taken to a hospital, where he stayed in a comma until he died, a week later.
The interviews allow us to witness what the people of Laramie were thinking regarding this event, something closely linked to their views on religion, homosexuality, tolerance and a lot more. One character said something that made a big impact on me, and that explains a lot: "I guess I didn't understand the magnitude with which some people hate".
On the whole, I think this is an excellent film, and I am sorry I didn't watch it before. I strongly recommend it to you, as a great film with a good message.
We never meet the victim, Matthew Shepherd, but we learn so much about him. We follow his last days on the earth, from visiting a bar through to his remaining hours. Actors play the residents of Laramie, who talk about their experiences and thoughts of the murder. Interwoven into the story are real life news broadcasts from the time of the murder which hit home the reality of this story.
I defy anyone to watch this and not feel a little emotional. Top marks goes to the scene in the courtroom where Shepherd's dad talks to the jury. This scene will bring a tear to even the most cynical of eyes!
Watch this, enjoy this, and think about it. Films like this do not come around too often!
If you are a gay man you HAVE to watch this, but not because its any good. Its the subject matter that counts.
[...] Something to have a look at if you want to follow up your knowledge.
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