Over a quarter century after the rise of the 24-hour news cycle, there are plenty of stories that, in retrospect, help shaped the way American audiences consume headlines. “Lorena,” a new Amazon documentary series premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival later this month, will make the case that the unfolding tale of Lorena Bobbitt is one of those stories.
As one of the series’ interview subjects glibly sums up what became a media sensation, “Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy marries girl. Girl cuts off boy’s penis.” The trailer for “Lorena” puts forth the idea that many of the ensuing stories about Lorena Bobbitt’s actions focused more on the aftermath of her actions rather than her testimony of physical and sexual abuse that preceded the incident.
Directed by Joshua Rofé and executive produced by Jordan Peele, the four-part series features interviews with some of the central figures in the saga, including Lorena and John Bobbitt themselves. It also looks to balance the particulars of the trial by digging into how different entertainment entities, from talk shows to tabloids, tried to craft their own versions of what happened. As one interview subject explains, “We were being entertained on the fodder of someone else’s suffering. It’s still going on.”
“Lorena” also connects the Bobbitts’ story with the ongoing evolution of how the American public treats victims of sexual assault and harassment, connecting their case with the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, which happened just two years prior. The series will screen at Sundance later this month.
Watch the trailer for “Lorena” (which includes a photo of John with David Hasselhoff of all people) below:
“Lorena” premieres February 15 on Amazon Prime Video.