“BEYOND HATRED”–the road to forgiveness

“Beyond Hatred”

The Road to Forgiveness

Amos Lassen

“Beyond Hatred” (“Au Dela de la Haine”) is a documentary, a moving story of the homophobic murder on September 13, 2003 of Francois Chenu by three skinheads. “Beyond Hatred” shows the details of the crime but it basically puts its focus on what happened afterwards. The director, Oliver Meyrou traveled to Reims before the trials of the murderers so that he could get to know Francois’ family and the attorneys for the accused.

Before and as the trial continued, he sought to learn about the men who had been accused of the deed and their backgrounds of hatred, prejudice and intolerance. What we get is not a movie about homophobia but one about the nature of tolerance.

When Francois admitted that he was gay, he was beaten to death and thrown into a pond. The perpetrators were know to law enforcement and were caught very quickly. Yet two years after the happening, Francois’ parents were still struggling with both anger and grief. However, part of their struggle was to fight for the respect of others and tolerance.

Meyrou followed it all and he soon found himself on a different road than the one he expected—he was on the road to forgiveness.

Filled with emotion—both raw and restrained, the movie shows with somber force the dignified restraint of the Chenu family and how they managed to control their anger and loss. The film rivets the viewer I its amazingly compassionate view of what happened. There is a depth here not usually seen in documentaries. Filmed in the style of cinema verite, Meyrou lets the story unfold at its own pace and the catharsis it brings, it a catharsis for the entire world. The Chenu family was able t move past anger and revenge and we have one of the most dignified and poignant documentaries ever made.

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