Film & TV

NYFF: Paradise Gets Lost Again in ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory’

Film & TV

NYFF: Paradise Gets Lost Again in ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory’

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Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, a harrowing documentary about the West Memphis Three, opens with a warning about the graphic images to come, followed immediately by grainy police footage of three naked 8-year-old boys, their frozen dead bodies splayed next to a creek.

The film, which chronicles the arrest, the 18-year imprisonment, and the release of three teenage outcasts—Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley—shines a light on a flawed police department urged by the community to pin the murders on someone (anyone, it seems). The accused were tried and convicted on the basis that they wore black and listened to heavy metal, which, according to a horrifying “expert” witness, could only be concluded as the mark of Satanists.

This is the third installment in a series from filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, whose original HBO documentary, Paradise Lost, raised international awareness about the case, and gave it the support it so desperately needed.