On March 13th, 1964, a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside of her apartment building in Kew Gardens, New York. As reported by the New York Times, 37 neighbors reportedly witnessed the murder and did not intervene. The story became emblematic of the “bystander effect,” a social psychology phenomenon that argues the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help a victim in need.
Though the supposed 37 bystander story has since been disproven, the new film “37” fictionalizes the myth and peeks into the lives of three disparate families, a lonely neighbor, and the doorman who might have witnessed the murder, and examines their decisions not to intervene by understanding their day-to-day struggles. The film stars Samira Wiley (“Orange is the New Black”), Michael Potts (“The Wire”), Marquise Gary (“The Blacklist”), Christina Brucato (“Orange is the New Black”), Jamie Harrold (“The Score”), Maria Dizzia (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”), and more. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.
“The Kitty Genovese murder became a symbol of the modern (apathetic) society and a warning sign of the group mentality,” says director Puk Grasten. “In ’37,’ the neighbors live peacefully, resigned to accept discrimination as a given, propagating the mentality of us vs. them. They struggle with fulfilling certain predetermined roles based on general and fixed social constructed ideas about sexuality, religion, race or the illusion of a perfect family. None of the neighbors question their roles until the murder takes place.”
“37” will be released in theaters and on demand this Friday, October 7th.