To Die For (1994) tells the story of an ambitious New Hampshire TV weather announcer. Cynically determined against those who would have her relegated to the role of mother and wife, the protagonist decides to shoot a report on local high school students, hoping that her improvised debut as director-author may prove to be the launching pad for her career. Socio-urban utopias and real estate controversies in another American province, this time in Florida, are the subject of the documentary The Paradise Next Door (2021) by director Lance Oppenheim, one of the youngest contributors to the New York Times. Still a student, Oppenheim began by proposing his videos through the open-sources portal “Open Docs” of the same newspaper, which subsequently acquired them. In the document, the narration of the facts passes through the narrative characters typical of cinematography.

THE PARADISE NEXT DOOR
2021’, 7’
Original English version

Director: Lance Oppenheim
Country: Stati Uniti
Distribution: Lance Oppenheim

Available on: New York Times Op-Docs’

The documentary explores one of the largest retirement communities in the world, The Villages, in Sumter County, Florida.


TO DIE FOR
1995, 107’
Original English version

Director: Gus Van Sant
Main cast: Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck
Country: U.S.A.
Distribution: ITV thanks to Park Circus

Suzanne is a local TV weather girl in Little Hope, New Hampshire, who craves to be a star and blindly believes in the power of television. She marries a local boy, Larry Maretto, the son of Italian-American restaurateurs. Cultivating the ambitious project of making a documentary about local youth, she encircles and seduces three young high school students. When her husband begins to become a barrier to her career, Suzanne convinces the three students to kill Larry. But Suzanne has underestimated the influential connections of Larry’s family, who from the beginning have sensed her lack of moral scruples. The film is structured as a news report, with interviews with witnesses, and incorporates footage from handycams and surveillance cameras.