Monday, July 9, 2012

Film Review: Beyond Hatred

Charles A. Smith

"Beyond Hatred," an Oliver Meyrou film, is a compelling and engrossing documentary about a family and their pain in the aftermath of the murder of their son Fracois Chenu. The 29 year old Chenu, who was gay, was attacked and killed in 2002 by three neofascist skinheads in a pubic park in Rhine, France. His murderers were there looking for an Arab to attack, but found Chenu instead. When he refused to renounce his homosexuality, he was beaten unconscious and throw in a into a pond, where he drowned. 

"Beyond Hatred" takes a deep look at hate crimes and homophobia, and a family's struggle to forgive the unforgivable. The Chenu family was kind enough to let the world in to the empty space left behind such an outrageous act. Questions are presented that are thought provoking and enlightening. Young people following strange ideals and parents standing back as they do is part of the cause. The inability of some to not accept others for whatever the reason is revealed in this as insanity. The lessons found here are difficult, but important. Long after this heinous crime was committed, as the family tried to go through the healing process, the trial began and the unleashing of raw emotions and wounds began anew. Still, Chenu's family sought to take the path of forgiveness and civility, as much for their own survival and sanity as for anyone else. 

This well produced film is shot with simplicity to allow the subject matter and emotional content to tell the story. "Beyond Hatred" is a very moving and disturbing look at what some members of our society have become, in an effort to stop the progression of such evil. You will feel deeply for the victims, and even have some compassion for the murderers. But most of all you will come to know that society must change its mindset of intolerance for others who are different. This is a powerful story of pain and humanity. The documentary is in French with English subtitles. I highly recommend this film!!

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