French documentary offers a cerebral, reasoned, humanistic reflection on retribution centred on the family of a young man who was murdered in 2002 by three skinheads.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Beyond Hatred is a cerebral, reasoned, humanistic reflection on retribution centred on the family of a young man who was murdered in 2002 by three skinheads. The neo-fascist youths were prowling a park looking for an Arab; instead they encountered 29-year-old François Chenu, who was gay. Savagely beaten, he was left to drown in a nearby pond. We see French media swarm around the family, keen to wrench every drop of heartbreak and drama from their grief and horror. Filmmaker Olivier Meyrou takes an entirely different approach, calmly and sympathetically chronicling their torturous emotional journey as they attempt to find a way forward without their beloved son and brother, in a world where his killers live on. The father of one of them, an alcoholic who tried to destroy evidence, and another attacker’s aunt, are treated with the same even-handedness by the filmmakers. The question of what the justice system delivers to victims is a vexed one, handled with almost puritanical restraint and intelligence in this elegantly formal, gravely impressive film.