Review: You Will Not Have My Hate
by Marta Bałaga
- Kilian Riedhof avoids easy sentimentality in this restrained take on a tragic true story that was literally shared by many
It really feels like people are finally ready to talk about the 2015 Bataclan attack, with films like Isaki Lacuesta’s One Year, One Night [+see also:
interview: Isaki Lacuesta
film profile] or Alice Winocour’s Paris Memories [+see also:
interview: Alice Winocour
film profile] addressing it more or less directly. German director Kilian Riedhof put himself in a much trickier position, however, as in You Will Not Have My Hate [+see also:
interview: Kilian Riedhof
film profile], screened in Locarno Film Festival’s Piazza Grande section, he takes on a very concrete true story of one man who lost his wife that night and took to social media to express what he felt. His words, which went viral, resonated with many and the media circus soon followed.
Antoine Leiris wrote a whole book about his experiences, but Riedhof picks up the absolute essence here – the sentence that his wife’s killers “won’t have his hate” despite stealing her life. Then, he observes how they are put into practice. His protagonist (played by Pierre Deladonchamps) can express what others are not capable of, but he is unable to organise his wife’s funeral or talk to his young son about their loss. You can quickly become a symbol of something and be celebrated, but it doesn’t necessarily ease your pain; it doesn’t cook breakfast for your confused child, either.
Riedhof is very interested in the ordinary, offering a simple, touching drama about a man slowly learning how to move on and deliver as a single parent. A bit like Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer, he learns how to make that French toast, although the stakes are obviously different. There are people around him, providing a support system that at times feels annoying, but he has to grow into this new role. Instead, he is busy “philosophising on TV” and giving yet another interview. Is it helping or does it have to do with his own vanity, as no one could ever resist being called “a hero” by complete strangers? Probably both.
Such duality makes this film very interesting and a little surprising, as it could have easily become schmaltzy and nobody would even complain. But Deladonchamps’s performance is also restrained, with his character’s torment easy to see yet still somewhat hidden. It’s a very universal, well-told story that could venture outside of the festival circuit – while its background is clear, the drama rarely leaves the increasingly messy house.
There are a few familiar touches: the obsessive listening to old voicemails, the idealised sun-lit memories of the person who is no longer here. But Riedhof doesn’t milk it, and he doesn’t actually show the attack. It’s a study of grief, not of violence or terrorism, albeit the kind of grief that makes it onto the front page of Le Monde. And for all the forgiveness probably never goes away, ever.
You Will Not Have My Hate was produced by Komplizen Film, co-produced by Haut et Court, Frakas Productions, NDR, Tobis, MMC Movies Köln, Erfttal Film, RTBF, Proximus and Shelter Prod, with Beta Cinema handling the sales.
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