IDFA - VPRO Extra: The Promise
A fascinating analysis of the love between two students in Virginia and the horrific murder of the woman’s parents in 1985. Who fell into whose trap?
They met at the University of Virginia in 1984. It was an unlikely pairing: Jens Soering, the 18-year-old son of a German diplomat, was still a little wet behind the ears, while Elizabeth Haysom was a beautiful woman of the world from a wealthy family. They fell head over heels for one another; not long after, the small town of Bedford was rocked by the gruesome murder of Elizabeth’s parents. The young lovers fled to England, but the police picked up their trail and they were arrested.
The Promise reconstructs these events and the subsequent trials in which Elizabeth and Jens were sentenced to life terms. Director Marcus Vetter interviews those involved and follows a private detective and a lawyer as they search for new evidence to prove that Jens Soering is innocent. The leitmotifs running throughout the film are the candid interviews with Jens – who has now been in prison for nearly 27 years – and a highly detailed examination of the trials.