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Charlotte Gainsbourg & Yvan Attal To Star In Drama Based On The Murder Of Kitty Genovese

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Yvan Attal To Star In Drama Based On The Murder Of Kitty Genovese

No stranger to difficult material (hello, “Antichrist“) actress/singer Charlotte Gainsbourg will at least have her husband Yvan Attal by her side in yet another tough drama for the actress.

Gainsbourg, Attal and Nathalie Baye are set to star in “Une nuit,” directed by actor and filmmaker Lucas Belvaux. Based on the novel “Est-ce ainsi que les femmes meurent?” (roughly translated as “Is This How Women Die?”) by Didier Decon, the book recounts the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. The woman was stabbed, raped and murdered in her own neighborhood while her cries for help, heard through the open windows of neighbors, went unheeded. The case has often been cited as an example of “bystander effect.”

No word yet on what the roles will be but more word should emerge soon as filming is gearing up to start on January 21st. Gainsbourg will next be seen in Lars Von Trier‘s sci-fi psychological disaster film “Melancholia” — which is likely to premiere at Cannes — and more recently was seen in the Aussie drama “The Tree” which made festival rounds last year but hasn’t picked up much heat, largely because it’s sort of ridiculous.

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Hate to be a boring pedant, but the whole “bystander effect” aspect of the Genovese murder story is largely urban legend. The claim that something like three dozen witnesses watched the murder take place and did nothing to help was fabricated by a sensationalist journalist. Still, the premise could be an interesting mine for a story. Would be hard to see how anyone could mine it better than Harlan Ellison did in his story “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs” though.

Taylor Jones

I’m new to posting comments on online articles so I’m guessing it’s in my best interest to pick my head up off the keyboard and not even attempt to parse those string of utterances.

Hey, you know, I too, grew up during a particular time AD and certain geographical location! That’s like insta-authority-on-subject surely


Sorry Kitty G my time my town ,
the movie will fail !

Taylor Jones

This is a fascinating project because there’s so many angles to this material. Kitty Genovese cannot be the focus, as, unfortunately, her death is her legacy—the bystander effect, etc.

My hope is that after Gainsbourg’s/Genovese’s brutal offing, Baye as investigator (that makes sense, really) interviews each of the thirty-eight bystanders (or realistically, a representative handful) and the weight of Genovese’s death and the bystander effect emerges from these encounters. Lord knows this has seen its share of sensationalism. Again, though, the variable here is this novel Belvaux handpicked. I really do not think this movie needs a finger-pointing or gender slant.

Honestly, I’m not even entirely sure Belvaux’s received distribution in the U.S. I recall his 2006 film receiving middling reviews at Cannes (middling at probably the worst incarnation of that fest last decade), but no distribution. Netflix’s is offering some of his work from 2002, but I’m more curious about his current work.

Joyce Tyler

Please forgive the typos in my post. That’s “procedural” and “Le petit lieutenant.”

Joyce Tyler

I hope Nathalie plays the cop leading the investigation–if there is such a role in the film. If so, I think we can trust that it will be as “pricedural” as “Let petit lieutenant.”

Taylor Jones

Genovese & the bystander effect is worthy material and probably even needs a solid adaptation but skepticism abounds personally because it’s finding basis from a novel, a novel roughly translated “Is This How Women Die?”. There is certainly reams of material out there to fashion an original screenplay.

Unfamiliar with Belvaux’s work and Decon in general, but I certainly hope it’s a lot more distanced, procedural and, well, psychological than the title seems to indicate.

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