Even if you don’t know Catherine “Kitty” Genovese’s name, you’ve almost certainly heard her story. She was 28 on March 13, 1964 when she was stabbed on the street in New York and left to die; as reported by the New York Times shortly thereafter, as many as 38 of her neighbors witnessed the attack but did nothing. The validity of this account has since been called into question, but whether apocryphal or not, the circumstances surrounding Genovese’s death have become synonymous with the Bystander Effect. James Solomon’s new documentary “The Witness,” which examines the case with the benefit of hindsight, has premiered its first poster ahead of its release this June.
“The Witness” premiered to a warm critical reception at the New York Film Festival last fall. Solomon follows Genovese’s brother Bill as he attempts to not only make sense of what happened but actually learn the truth of the crime itself — the what and how apparently remain as murky as the why.
“This film is not only an unraveling of what really happened that fateful night, but also about a brother’s relentless quest to reclaim his sister Kitty’s life from her death,” Solomon said after his film was picked up for distribution earlier this year. FilmRise will release “The Witness” in New York on June 3 with a rollout in Los Angeles and other cities beginning on June 17.