Beyond Hatred review

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Exploring the aftermath of a vicious hate crime, this moving, humane documentary from Olivier Meyrou avoids the pitfalls of sensationalism. The facts are clear: in September 2002, 29-year-old gay man François Chenu was attacked in a Reims park by a gang of skinheads, who beat him unconscious, before throwing him in a pond where he drowned.

Beyond Hatred begins two years after the murder, with Francois’ parents Jean-Paul and Marie-Cecile and his siblings preparing for the trial, while continuing to deal with their feelings of loss. And with humbling dignity, the mother and father seek to understand the reasons for the behaviour of the men who killed their son. Without either narration nor any visual images of the murderers, Meyrou’s suitably sombre film leaves you with a sense of enormous respect for a couple refusing to be consumed by hatred, prepared instead to offer their forgiveness.

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