POV, public television's award-winning non-fiction film series, returns tomorrow with a haunting new installment, Beyond Hatred, which depicts the aftermath of a gruesome anti-gay hate crime in France.
In September 2002, 29-year-old Frenchman François Chenu was brutally murdered by three neo-Nazi skinheads who were trolling the streets looking to beat up anyone they deemed "subhuman." Filmmaker Olivier Meyrou begins the story two years after the hate crime as the trial of the killers approaches.
François' parents write an open letter to the convicted killers, which they read on camera in Beyond Hatred. They tell the imprisoned men how, during the trial, they "attempted to decipher your logic of hate but were unable to do so." They point by contrast to their son's trust in others because "he believed in man, whatever his color, religion or customs." And yet, "we also heard from your lips words that suggested that something was changing inside you." The Chenus close with an extraordinary wish for the men's success in forging "a future . . . without hatred and violence."
The Chenus' struggle to be true to their values in the face of great injustice and tragedy is a stunning testament to humanity's power to find a way past the violence that plagues modern society. Their story is an attempt to throw light into the dark, hollow center left by François' murder.
Beyond Hatred premieres tomorrow at 10:00 PM on your local PBS affiliate. For more information, visit POV's website. The film will also be available to view on the website for the entire month of July.