Movie Spotlight: The Witness
I don’t often look at television listings thoroughly, particularly because of my hectic schedule. However, once in awhile I check to see what Independent Lens on PBS broadcasts. As I was looking through the listings, I noticed Independent Lens was on tonight and clicked on the information tab to see what was airing.
The description read: “Bill Genovese investigates the 1964 murder of his sister Kitty, who was stabbed to death in Queens while 38 bystanders did nothing—at least, that’s how the story was reported by the New York Times. Those “facts” led to the development of “the bystander effect” within psychology; influenced politicians to pass “Good Samaritan” laws; and spurred Bill to volunteer for Vietnam, where he lost his legs. But those “facts” weren’t accurate, as Genovese discovers through the course of the documentary.”
Immediately while reading the description, I recalled learning about the Genovese case in 2007 when taking a psychology course in college. With all of the inaccurate news reports in recent history, I decided to watch this on television and was drawn into Bill’s journey in uncovering what really happened to his sister Kitty. I was riveted in how much information was never discussed about before — what I had learned in college about the case was essentially just the scenario that the New York Times article had described.
Bill’s determination, along with his kind and compassionate soul, brings the documentary alive in his going above and beyond to give a voice to his sister, who he loved so dearly.
Without revealing any spoilers, this documentary is a must-watch and I highly recommend seeing this when you can. Hopefully the film will be available online here. Often Independent Lens has previous airings available online for a limited time. I imagine this film being utilized in so many aspects, and should be shown to students to reveal a larger picture of the case and how the news is not always really “the full news”. Every person should see this!