“The Evening that this attack took place, with my boot that knocked Matthew unconscious.”
Could you forgive the person who nearly killed you, just for being who you are? That is the question that one is forced to ask themself over and over while watching the documentary short Facing Fear. The film, which is the directorial debut of Jason Cohen, puts you into the world f Matthew Boger who as a young gay man was forced to live on the streets of Hollywood because his mother did not except him, and Tim Zaal an ex Neo Nazi Skin Head who at one point years ago nearly killed Matthew by beating him so badly. Later on in life and strictly by chance (or perhaps fate) , the two come back in contact through their work at the Museum of Tolerance and eventually work together educating people by telling their specific story.
The documentary reflects on the situation by having the two main characters tell you their histories, and then how it is that they worked through their feelings and how Matthew was able to forgive Tim, and for Tim to even forgive himself in order to be better off, as well as help people. Although you don’t know the full scope of things until half way through, it quickly becomes clear that Tim no longer thinks of himself as, or wants to be the hardcore skin head that he is explaining. This concept forces the viewer into an evaluative mode immediately, “Do I care what this ex nazi pos thinks? Am I supposed to forgive him or even somehow feel bad for him?” That is what was going through my mind early on, and really throughout the whole movie. I couldn’t help but keep thinking that I could never be so forgiving, and then to watch a man who almost died at the hands of another do just that, forgive.
This concept and how it will uniquely affect any person that watches it is what makes this short film so powerful, and most likely why it’s nominated for an Oscar at this year’s 86th Annual Academy Awards. Stay tuned to TheSource.com for more as the 2014 Oscar’s approach on March 2nd.
Watch a trailer for the documentar below