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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Gay > Hate Crimes > Murder > Beyond Hatred (2005) + Our House (2000/First Run Features)

Beyond Hatred (2005) + Our House (2000/First Run Features)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-/C+     Documentaries: B-/C+



Two new documentaries from First Run Features show how Homophobia and hate crimes are not only still with us, but institutionalized hate, encouraged by irresponsible people in the mainstream media and even entertainment industry worldwide has actually caused a resurgence.  Especially when you have a government who stands by and does little about it for a while, this is what we land up with.  From two different countries, two different situations, but the same root problems, Olivier Meurou’s Beyond Hatred (2005) and Meema Spadola’s Our House (2000) are sobering reminders that all is not well.


Beyond Hatred is about a painful incident in France where three Skinhead Neo-Nazi types went looking for a “Arab” type to attack, found a young gay male instead, then verbally insulted him, physically attacked him and knocked him unconscious, throwing him into a pond where he drowned to death.  Little heard about in the U.S. for “suspicious reasons” along with who knows how many similar U.S. cases, we learn about the victim, Francois Chenu.  He was only 29 and we see his very much in-pain parents deal with the court case, the loss and then have the courage to forgive the killers.  Like similar cases where the family of the victim forgives, it is controversial with its pros and cons, but this is a thoughtful work that shows it like it happens without much of anything added to the soundtrack or in the way of much graphic text on screen.  I wanted to learn even more about all of it, but the nearly 90 minutes offers plenty and is a compelling look at a tragedy whose roots are all too alive and well.


Our House is about the children of gay parents and the kinds of ignorance, hatred, stupidity, bigotry, homophobia and backward thinking such families experience from people all around, including adults who should know better.  The intimidation is amazing and the fact that there is not more legal action taken present a shocking problem that is developing into one of the most invisible crisis in the U.S., though I wish this work had covered that more.  Instead, we see the lives of these healthy family units and the makers never even talk about incest, rape or child abuse in endless heterosexual family units.



The letterboxed/windowboxed 1.66 X 1 image on Beyond and 1.33 X 1 image on House in both cases are a little rough and done on a low budget, but are watchable and made as well as can be expected under the circumstances.  Softness and odd color from transfers are noticed throughout both.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 on each is barely stereo and sometimes hard to hear, but are on the professional side.  Beyond extras include relevant trailers, while House extras include updates of the four separate families featured, a making of featurette and more about a support group.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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