Helen Whitney’s FORGIVENESS explores the act of forgiveness through a wide range of stories, from adultery and personal betrayal to the post-genocidal reconciliation of nations. In focusing on specific instances of affliction—one family torn apart by abandonment, the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa or the memories of ’60s radicals coping with their violent acts of protest—FORGIVENESS studies the psychological impetus and impacts of this crucial sentiment, illuminating its power, its limitations and, in some cases, its dangers. Giving voice to the stories of nations and individuals who have suffered and struggled to forgive, FORGIVENESS provides a moving and much-needed chronicle of reconciliation.
The deepest wounds can destroy countries, ravage families and damage generations to come. As difficult and painful as it can be, forgiveness is often the only thing that can heal these wounds and set things right. Helen Whitney’s FORGIVENESS explores the act of forgiveness through a wide range of stories, from adultery and personal betrayal to the post-genocidal reconciliation of nations.
It should come as no surprise that a documentary that was produced, directed, and written by someone who was nominated for an Oscar, won an Emmy and won two Peabody Awards is amazing and quite worthwhile to watch. It’s a pretty basic premise, but it’s deeply emotional in that it inevitably connects with anyone and everyone on some kind of level. It’s a universal concept and one we don’t really practice as much as we should and this film helps take a look at all kinds of forgiveness, though it often deals with weightier topics (which in turns help you put into perspective your own situations in which you must forgive others as well).
The documentary is split into two parts, with the first focusing on the “private realm.” This goes into such areas as the Amish response to the slaughter of children at the Nickle Mines schoolhouse massacre. It’s by no means a light topic to watch or witness, but it is one that is very eye opening as well. The second part is focused in the “public and political” realm, which zeroes in on such things as the post-genocide in Rwanda and the reconciliation between Jews and Germans.
It’s a very thought provoking film and one that will no doubt leave you a little shaken no matter what. Even if you’re on good terms with everyone in your life by some chance, it’s still a Highly Recommended documentary as you really won’t see anything else quite like it. After all, how many DVD covers do you know of that has a quote from the Dalai Lama on it?
New Video/docuramafilms brings Forgiveness to DVD in a standard amaray DVD case. Nothing overly special about the presentation of the documentary here—no fancy exterior cardboard slipcase and the cover itself looks rather simplistic. Video and audio is a solid presentation overall and about what you’d expect from a documentary. As can be expected from a documentary the video is in 1.85:1 and the audio is a simple DD5.1 mix with the majority of the track focused in the front channels. Extras include:
Extended Bonus Sequences
The extra sequences are definitely worth watching if you enjoyed the film; sadly there aren’t many of them, but with a run time of nearly three hours this isn’t a documentary that needs more to it. Highly Recommended.
Forgiveness is now available on DVD.