The Beatrice Six: a cartoon about justice in the US

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The citizens of Beatrice, Nebraska, thought it would be a good idea to stage a theatrical representation in 2021 of the events that made the town famous in the late 1980s: the case of the “Beatrice Six.” The police, judicial, prison and media coverage of the six people accused of the rape and murder of an elderly woman in her home In 1985 it burst the social seams of the town at the time. And she would do it again several more times later. In 2021, Beatrice had not made peace with herself, so maybe it was a good idea for her to exorcise all that dark energy through art.

But the really good idea came from Nanfu Wang, a Chinese-American filmmaker who decided to turn the case of the Beatrice Six into a documentary series. This is how HBO Max has titled it directly in Spain, compared to an original title that is a play on words. Released a year ago, Mind Over Murder (literally, “the mind over murder”) plays on the expression “mind over matter“(“mind over matter”), an ambiguous construction: it is usually used to refer to phenomena associated with parapsychology, but Wang takes it literally and applies it to a case in which heads are easily manipulated. and therefore so are the investigation, trial and media treatment of a horrible crime.

Beatrice’s six is the conceptual sequel to all those stories about broken childhoods and adolescence from the real deep America, the one that lives in medium-sized towns in the middle of nowhere and has as heightened a sense of suspicion as that of community. The first led Beatrice not to question the pitiful operations of her police and her justice system; The second shielded the above and then tried, in a deeply childish way, to ask for forgiveness and repent. Because North America, when it is basic, is very basic.

Throughout its six episodes, Beatrice’s six tells the story of the case and the shameful trial, but also the preparation of the theatrical performance with which a few deluded people tried to do, in their own way, justice. That representation is part of the series. Is spoiler say here if that show amateur achieve something, if it changes something, if it served a purpose. It is not surprising to note that Nanfu Wang does not hide what he thinks on the matter. With her series, she has been able to see what the successive turns of the case of the Beatrice six said about a society (that of the United States). The penultimate could well be the premise of a very dark comedy by Todd Solondz or John Waters, but in the series it appears in the form of sarcastic revenge for the system. Twisted karma and, sorry for the audacity, hilarious. There is the only smile that will make you Beatrice’s six. Everything else is ignorance and filth. That America where the riskiest business you can start is a bookstore. And the second most risky, an endocrinology consultation.

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