The Forgiveness (El perdón)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 7:30pm
Spain 2009. Director: Ventura Durall

ImageVANCOUVER PREMIERE! Near Barcelona, on February 6, 1994, a man is brutally murdered with a crossbow. The killer immediately gives himself up to the police: he is 19-year-old Andrés Rabadán, the victim’s son, soon to be nicknamed “El Loco de la Ballesta” (“The Crossbow Madman”) by the Spanish press. At a sensational trial, Rabadán is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and sentenced to 20 years in a prison for the criminally insane. Only two years later, prison psychiatrists pronounce him “cured” of schizophrenia and not a threat to society, but Rabadán remains in prison to this day. The Forgiveness cleverly unravels the events leading up to the murder, and uncovers a miasma of familial dysfunction not given light at the trial. (Rabadán’s father, it is discovered, was a brutal, violent man who may have driven his wife to suicide and sexually abused his daughter — a revelation Andrés learned for the first time on that fateful day in 1994.) Using archival footage, interviews, home videos, and animation of the disturbing and intricate drawings Rabadán made while incarcerated — later published in book form as Historias desde la cárcel (“Stories from Jail”) — The Forgiveness strips away layers of meaning to reveal the deeper truths beneath. Colour, Digibeta video, in Spanish with English subtitles. 65 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Roy O’Shaughnessy, a trained forensic psychiatrist who has practiced for 25 years in B.C. Dr. O’Shaughnessy is a Clinical Professor and Head, Division of Forensic Psychiatry, in the Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. He is Past President, American Academy Psychiatry and Law; Past President, B.C. Psychiatric Association; and Past President, B.C. Medical Legal Society.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.