TJFF 2020: Our Review of ‘Thou Shalt Not Hate’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TJFF 2020 (Online) by - October 22, 2020
TJFF 2020: Our Review of ‘Thou Shalt Not Hate’

Directed by Mauro Mancini, Thou Shalt Not Hate tells the story of Simone (Alessandro Gassman), a Jewish surgeon and son of a Holocaust survivor. When Simone happens upon the site of a hit-and-run accident, he is more than willing to help… until he discovers a swastika tattooed on his chest. Choosing to leave the victim to die, Simone is broken by his decision and opts to hire the man’s daughter Marica (Sara Serraiocco) as his house cleaner as a form of reparation. However, when Marica’s neo-Nazi brother, Marcello finds out, he is enraged and Simone finds himself embroiled in a much deeper conflict.

Powerful and deeply challenging, Thou Shalt Not Hate feels like a spiritual parable for our modern era. (The film’s title is even adapted directly from the Old Testament’s famed Ten Commandments.) Having chosen ever so briefly to succumb to the hatred within him, Simone remains grieved by his actions. Torn between his desire to be righteous and his inner rage, he recognizes instantly that his anger towards the man he refused to help has consequences and he seeks penance for his actions. However, in doing so, Simone’s repentant soul also challenges the evil that surrounds him. Though he still struggles with his own inner fury, Simone seeks to see his attackers as more than just their racist ideologies. As a result, his acceptance of Marcia and her family—despite their vile hatred of Simone’s nationality—causes a ripple effect of peace throughout the family that feels like a threat to others who remain steeped within their rage.

With its willingness to ask profoundly difficult questions of the soul, Thou Shalt Not Hate feels like a deeply personal film. With each glance, the viewer can sense the tension within Simone as he attempts to process his feelings towards these characters. In doing so, Mancini’s film serves as a reminder that, whether innocent or guilty, everyone has value and needs a chance at redemption.

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Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website, ScreenFish.net.
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