The Assassination of Gianni Versace and the 90’s gay psychopathy

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We wrote about the second season of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace about its arrival in the Latin American catalog of Netflix

The Assassination of Gianni Versace and the 90's gay psychopathy

Last week, the second season of American Crime Story came to the Netflix Latin America catalog: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. This happens a year after its transmission by FX. However, this series has become valid again in this first month of the year, as it has swept the awards season. This is the second installment of ACS, anthology series that studies a criminal case by the season that revolves around a famous figure of the United States. The first season was masterful and revolved around the trial of OJ Simpson for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her lover. This time, the series, produced by Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, Pose ), studies the murder of Italian designer Gianni Versace and delves into the mind of Andrew Cunanan, his killer. It stars Venezuelan Édgar Ramírez in the role of Gianni Versace, Spain's Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Puerto Rican Ricky Martin as Antonio D'Amico and Darren Chris as Andrew Cunanan.

Leer en español: The Assassination of Gianni Versace y la psicopatía gay noventera

Also read: 5 series and LGBTIQ + movies to see on Netflix

What's the series about?

The series follows above all Andrew Cunanan in a retrospective timeline that goes from the murder of Versace to the past to show us how he got there, at the gate of the mansion Versace in Miami Beach to shoot the designer loved by many. In the first episode, then, we see very first the murder of Versace, that is to say, that the series begins with its climax, or that is what we believe at the beginning. Then, as the series progresses, we look at the months before the Versace murder and learn more about life and the other victims of Cunanan, and we also learn about the life of Versace, his last victim.

Before the designer, the serial killer had ended the lives of four other people, with all had had a different relationship and the series explores those links of the murderer with their victims. Darren Chris, who plays Andrew Cunanan, plays a magnificent, terrifying and friendly role at the same time. His character is complex and very well written. We see in his gestures and his smile the features of his psychopathy.

The 90's gay scene and own hatred

The events of the series take place from 1994 to 1997, the year in which Cunanan murders his five victims. This, except for the eighth chapter, in which we see the youth of Versace in Italy in 1957 and that of Cunanan in Modesto in 1980. By making this parallel of each one's history (that in the title of the eighth chapter "Creator / Destroyer "becomes more evident) in his youth and the months before the murder, the series shows what they had in common and what separated them.

Andrew Cunanan is an intelligent and scholarly gay young man. It is also very good to create characters and to accommodate their appearance and their history according to their interlocutor. Each new person he meets tells a different story about himself, imagines people he would like to be and with whom he could impress whoever he wants to please. He is cautious and calculating when choosing his victims, studying their weaknesses and knowing how to manipulate them. He has a delirium of a savior: he thinks he is helping other gay men to be, to exist. We see his anger before the closet, although he himself is in many closets, because nobody knows his truth: he is broken, alone and, above all, frightened.

In contrast to Andrew and his victims (sometimes similar to him: young people who frequent gay bars secretly, or occasionally different: an old man who secretly hires his wife to a young prostitute), we see the life of Versace. He is an already famous Italian designer who resides in Miami. He has been living for 15 years with Antonio D'Amico, his partner. He is affectionate and sensitive; he has a weakness for beauty. The contrast that makes the series lets us see that Versace is a privileged man compared to Cunanan: genius of fashion and millionaire, the designer can publicly declare that he is gay, while Cunanan's friend and his first victim, Jeff, a naval officer, must hide when he is suspected of being a homosexual. Cunanan, who has grown up in a family with an abusive father, feels anger and envy for men like Versace.

Cunanan's obsession with forcing his victims out of the closet is recurrent in the series. Hence his delirium as a savior: he believes that with this he is helping them, but he is exposing them to a homophobic society. In the end, it is evident that who Cunanan really hates is himself. He has grown up in a country that has taught him to hate homosexuals, so before he realized he was homosexual, he already hated himself. And hence his psychopathy and his lies: he wanted to be others, he did not want to be him. His capacity for empathy is so numb that in the end he has no sensitivity even for himself and that is why the last life he snatches is his own.

The series, far from being naive, also shows what Versace should charge for his homosexuality. Even when he is a privileged man, he deals with the pressure to leave the closet, with HIV, with the dilemma of being who he is. So yes, on the one hand, Cunanan envies Versace, because he is the man he could never be: free and with voice. On the other side, and although it seems contradictory, Cunanan also sees himself in Versace: a scared man, and that's why he hates him and decides to kill him. But by showing Versace beyond its privilege, the series shields itself from justifying the murderer, because what Cunanan did not see was Versace as a person, not as a public figure, due to his lack of empathy. Thus, the series highlights the psychopathy with which men who were taught to hate themselves have to live.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón

Translated from "The Assassination of Gianni Versace y la piscopatía gay noventera"

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