Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Your Fathers Murderer: A Letter to Zachary - 23/2/10

Showing on British television as part of the "Storyville" season this incredible documentary from director Kurt Kuenne has to be one of the most moving experiences I have enjoyed in a very long time. He crafted a film that while telling a very specific story managed to reach out and speak of something universal while I watched...that love really is stronger than death. I cannot imagine the person who watches this and doesn't find a tear rolling slowly down their cheek and I'm not sure I would want to know that person.

Kuenne tells the story of his friend Andrew Bagby who was shot and murdered by his ex-girlfriend and who then fled to her home in Newfoundland in an attempt to avoid prosecution. Shortly after her return to Canada she announced that she was pregnant with Andrews child and that is the launch pad for Kuennes film as he seeks to send a letter to the unborn child that will document who his father was and what he meant to his friends and family. The story that actually unfolds is something altogether more unbelievable and, at times, shocking.

The film also paints a picture of Andrews parents David and Kate Bagby as they struggle to bring their sons killer to justice while at the same time trying to ensure that they have access to their new grandson. The horror of having to sit in the same room as the woman accused of murdering their son and be pleasant to her in order to have time with their grandson is something that I'm not sure I have the words to describe but the film manages to give us a sense of how difficult their struggle was.

While Andrew starts the film as the hero of the piece it soon becomes obvious that his parents are the real heroes...their patience, love, understanding and perseverance is inspiring and uplifting. They are the kind of people that we would all dearly love to be able to call our friends. At times it seems beyond belief that they could endure so much pain and heartache yet still remain so upright, forthright and committed to what they believe. Their battle for justice brings an awful moment of real human suffering that left me sobbing as I watched.

In a world where "hero" can be attached to the likes of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Jordan, Britney Spears and so many others utterly undeserving of it, it was fabulous to see a film that contained two people truly worthy of the accolade. If you are reading this from within the United Kingdom I implore you to find the time to watch the film here before it disappears. I can promise that you will find something beautiful as you watch, even though at times the ugliness on display is almost too much to look at.



  1. I actually just watched this last weekend and was very moved. It really stirred up a lot of different emotions. The Bagby's really are heros.

  2. I'm glad you agree Julie.

    I too found it very moving and I'm glad it has an audience. It really was a wonderful documentary.