Release Date: June 15th, 2007 (Cinema Village) by First Run Features.
Directed by Olivier Meyrou.
In French with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about a family that reflects on the murder of their 29-year-old gay son, François Chenu.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Beyond Hatred does remain fascinating and well-rounded throughout, but it could have been more absorbing with more personal interviews with the family members of François Chenu. The actual description of the murder involves three skinheads who had beat François back in 2002 and threw him into a lake while he was still alive. Director Olivier Meyrou wisely chooses not to delve on the murder itself or even on trial. Instead, he focuses on each of the family members as they express their reaction to the murder as well as the murderers without revealing the details all at once. It’s fascinating to listen to the other side of the story as well from the defendants’ lawyers and psychologists who blame the skinheads’ irrational behavior on their parents’ neglect. For unexplained reasons, the skinheads don’t get a chance to be interviewed here or shown at all. The cinematography and musical score adds to the overall sadness, although it’s a bit distracting when one of François’ family members speaks while the camera fixates on a jogging path or on a lake, which also feels impersonal. When the camera does film their faces, they’re bit off center, distant and they never make eye contact, which doesn’t allow you to feel truly absorbed.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The insightful messages include the importance of toleration, forgiveness which will help you to live peacefully with yourself and others. It may sound clichéd, but there’s a lot of truth to it.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Impersonal camera during interviews.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Well-rounded, insightful and fascinating, but not absorbing enough.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "B" Menu