Is Netflix Film ‘The Chalk Line’ Based On A True Story? What Is The History Behind ‘The Monster Of Amstetten’?

Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between right and wrong. “The Chalk Line,” aka “Jaula” is a 2022 Spanish psychological thriller on Netflix that narrates the story of Clara and Paula. This movie gives us an insight that people can go to any lengths to fulfill their desires of hurting others. “The Chalk Line” doesn’t fail to entice its viewers through unnerving twists as it depicts the complexity of mental and physical abuse played out against individuals in our society. Well, everything goes well at first until Paula and Simon find a little girl roaming around the streets at night. Moreover, the child decides to run in the opposite direction only to lose consciousness. The couple realized that the girl needed to be admitted to the hospital, and once the police got involved, they were assured that her parents would be found. But, to their surprise, the girl doesn’t open up or speak to them. “The Chalk Line” is inspired by the true story of “Monster of Amstetten.” This news came into the limelight after 24 years, and the whole world knew about the crimes of Josef Fritzl. He assaulted and abused his eighteen-year-old daughter, Elisabeth, and held her captive in his basement for twenty-four years. She gave birth to seven children, and each one of them suffered from tremendous panic attacks and other mental health issues. Despite this, the family is enjoying a happy life in Austria presently.

Josef Fritzl was arrested for rape, manslaughter, and other charges with a sentence of life imprisonment. “The Chalk Line” changed the events of the story and created fictitious incidents around it, but the main context is inspired by the life of Elisabeth. The major differences in this movie would be the characters. As per the original crime, Elisabeth had seven children, but the movie revolved around one child, Clara. Well, the movie carefully monitored the changes the child had to go through, and her habit of containing herself within small squares was suitably portrayed. These strange behaviors often raised suspicions in the minds of Paula and Simon, but they had no clue since Clara didn’t speak. They decided to take the child home as Paula was the only person who could calm Clara’s aggression toward other people.

Higher officials were involved in the case, but they couldn’t find any missing cases registered for the child. Their main purpose was to find the perpetrator behind her abuse. They certainly knew that she was tortured, but Clara had to speak up to provide more clarity on her situation.  Clara brought in several challenges, and the relationship between Paula and Simon began to worsen since Clara was involved in everything. The couple was looking forward to having a child, but Clara’s case didn’t provide them with any leisure time with each other. Moreover, the child didn’t move around freely since she was used to confining herself in small spaces. Paula and Simon made small spaces everywhere around the house to allow her the possibility of moving around freely. So, with time, Clara moved everywhere through the lines drawn around the house. 

With time, Clara began communicating with Paula, but they couldn’t interpret the meaning of her conversations since she responded with words instead of sentences. Clara generated a close bond with Paula. Things took a different turn when one morning, Paula’s neighbor, Claudia, decided to visit her with her daughter, who’s close to Clara’s age. Well, Paula was preparing breakfast, so she offered them some. But Claudia’s mouth began bleeding with the first bite she took, as the jam was filled with tiny pieces of glass. This created a huge rift between Simon and Paula since Clara was ruining all their plans. Paula refused to inform the social workers that worked on Clara’s case, but everything settled down once they understood more about Clara’s ethnicity. Since Clara didn’t speak much, she shared certain words with them, and this helped Paula to understand that she was German.

Paula tried her best to communicate with Clara, but she didn’t seem to understand anything since everyone including Paula spoke communicated in Spanish. Suddenly, Paula had to experience the same situation where her coffee was filled with glass, and she had to remove the pieces from her mouth. Clara disappeared within a few minutes, and none of them could figure out the reason behind her disappearance. But this created more problems for the couple since Simon and Paula tried conceiving for more than six years and Clara’s presence created a huge distance between them. The next morning, Paula received a frantic phone call from Clara, but she didn’t say anything. Paula immediately filed a complaint, and, to her surprise, the phone call was made from her number itself. Later, Paula stole case files from the officers, and here she found out about young girls who were victims of sexual abuse.

Out of all the cases, one particular case attracted her the most since this particular victim’s house was surrounded by the same paper cuttings that Clara used to make for Paula. Ingrid Moland was abducted from Malaga beach in June 2011, and even after ten years, the officials couldn’t find a single clue about it. Paula went through Clara’s belongings and found a sketch that looked like the window of her neighbor, Eduardo Olivares. At that moment, Paula figured out the truth behind Clara’s drawings, and as per her suspicion, Clara was asking for help! Ingrid was kidnapped by Eduardo, and Clara was his child. He discarded Ingrid’s body after killing her mercilessly. Moreover, it was Eduardo who placed the glass pieces in the jam bottle to kill Clara, fearing she would confess everything. Paula tried to save the girl, but he kidnapped her instead and held her captive in the basement with Clara.

She managed to send Clara out the basement door by distracting Eduardo, and Clara immediately took that chance and escaped. Paula carried a few pieces of chalk with her, and Clara drew her way out of the door, asking for help. Clara shouted for Simon, but she couldn’t reach him since he was busy on a phone call. But Clara confidently made her way to his house without the chalk line. But the story takes a different turn once Eduardo’s wife, Maite, spots Clara outside. Maite uses this opportunity to escape from her husband since hiding his secret can help her to visit her sons in Barcelona without having to return. But the chalk prints on Eduardo’s door created a breakthrough in this case. The police began to look for Paula, and these prints helped them to discover the truth. Eduardo and Maite were arrested for the crime. “The Chalk Line” ends on a good note as Clara has improved a lot since the incident, and her life has completely changed with now that she is living with her grandparents.

See More: Why Did Clara Confine Herself Within Squares Drawn With Chalk In The Movie ‘The Chalk Line’?

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Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya is a Mass Media graduate and she is currently working and living in Mumbai. From a very young age, Raschi was heavily interested in reading and writing. She prefers to write everything that her mind nurtures her to do as shaping up her imagination is her forte!

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