"...generously takes the audience into the emotions and wisdoms known only to those who have lost a loved-one to murder. Theme: Murder leaves us with a mystery, but also many answers about ourselves and our society."

Gavin de Becker, author, "The Gift of Fear"

A true crime story of murder, secrets and sexuality, set in the art world of the 50's and 60's, Theme: Murder takes the viewer on an immersive journey into the struggles and frustrations of living with an unsolved homicide. The filmmaker was nine years old in 1968 when her father, the Boston art dealer Hyman Swetzoff, was beaten and left to die in his home. Martha's search to make sense of her father's unsolved murder frames a wide-ranging inquiry into attitudes toward victims and survivors of homicide, the price of homophobia, and the problematic relationship between families and law enforcement. Includes interviews with crime fiction author James Ellroy and the Boston Cold Case Squad.


"Loved it! The film illustrates how one woman's journey of self-discovery can help us all...a useful tool that will provoke cognitive discussion as well as emotional discovery within almost any group."

Katherine Manners, Director, Living After Murder Program

"Mesmerizing, sensual, formally ambitious. Fabulous."

Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix and Acting Curator, Harvard Film Archive

"A  stirring piece of cinematic humanism...The mix of the personal and universal makes Theme: Murder a prime example of the first-person moviemaking that's long been a Boston tradition is such films as Ross McElwee's Sherman's March, Robb Moss' The Tourist, and Jeanne Jordan and Steve Ascher's Troublesome Creek. "

Paul Sherman, Boston Herald

"Martha Swetzoff's brilliant analytical strength makes Theme: Murder a
powerful, emotional experience!"


"Gripping...darkly hypnotic...a haunting film. "

Andrew Goldman, Boston Magazine