Film: The Promise – Goethe-Institut New Zealand

Film: The Promise – Goethe-Institut New Zealand

Directed by: Markus Vetter and Karin Steinberger (Germany, 2016, 117 minutes)
Rating: M

This year's 12th Doc Edge International Documentary Film Festival, taking place in Wellington (10 – 21 May) and Auckland (24 May – 5 June), showcases the best documentaries from around the world. 69 films made it to the list, including “The Promise” by German directors Markus Vetter and Karin Steinberger.

In August 1984, Jens Söring, the son of a German diplomat, met Elizabeth Haysom at the University of Virginia. The two become lovers. It soon becomes clear that Elizabeth is being abused by her mother and wants her parents dead. Six months later, Haysom's parents were brutally murdered in their home and the young couple became the focus of the police. Soering and Hessom escape and are arrested in London. After a four-day interrogation, Jens Söring confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He later retracted his confession and maintained that he undertook the murders to protect his girlfriend. But Elizabeth Haysom also denies blame…

In their three-year research, the filmmakers found numerous pieces of evidence that were deemed inadmissible in court or were not even mentioned. The film questions the evidence and addresses Elizabeth's sexual assault by her mother, which the judge ruled was irrelevant.

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