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Beyond Hatred Review

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Documentary charting how a French family comes to terms with the murder of the son and endeavours to comprehend the motives behind the attack.

★★★★

The media’s tendency to sensationalise news stories comes under scrutiny in this documentary, in which a murder victim’s family attempts to understand the motives for the crime rather than succumbing to vengeful anger.

The tone is set in the opening sequence, as Aurélie Chenu calmly describes, over a static shot of a Rheims park, how she learned that her gay brother had been left for dead in a pond by a trio of skinheads frustrated at not being able to vent their hatred on some Arabs. The equanimity with which she and her parents handle the trial and its aftermath offers a heroic example, and Olivier Meyrou wisely adopts their dignified approach to put the case into a wider socio-cultural context.

This deeply moving account of a French family's response to a needless tragedy is all the more effective as it eschews the sensationalism of so much modern reportage.