Two Roads Converged, by David Bax
Jason Cohen’s powerful short documentary, “Facing Fear,” spends a lot of time within the rushing sense of dread one experiences when the inevitable has been recognized but has not yet arrived. The film tells the tale of a racist skinhead and a homosexual man who first met when the former was one of a group who beat the latter nearly to death as teenagers and then again, decades later, when both were professional speakers on the subject of tolerance. When Matthew Boger – the gay kid who grew up to work at Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance – finally asked Tim Zaal – the now ex-neo-Nazi who gives talks on the lessons he’s learned – if he knew who he was talking to, Zaal replied, “I think I knew before you did.” That area of “knowing” is where the film resides. Or rather, it takes place in the space just after, in the wide gulf between knowing something (that you have grievously wronged someone; that forgiveness is the noble choice) and convincing yourself to act upon that knowledge. Cohen not only lucked into a most fascinating human interest story. He has used it to convince all of us that, human and fallible though we may be, we are capable of facing the nearly impossible decision and of doing the right thing. Eventually.