The Hunt [Jagten]

the-hunt-poster

Although surrounded by old and close friends in his community, a teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie. (Based on the blurb at imdb.)

In an age where people in developed countries are becoming ever more sensitive to abuse, especially of children, it’s easy to forget that false accusations can still be made, and that it is important to seek the truth. Admittedly, it seems like it is still difficult to establish guilt; but that only makes it all the more important that we do not rush to assign that guilt to people who may well be innocent.

The Hunt was harrowing to watch because the viewer knows from the start that Lucas is innocent of the charge. The child in question is his best friend’s daughter, Klara, with whom he has a genial and wholesome relationship (he helps the teachers at the kindergarden that she attends). However, when her crush on him is gently turned down by Lucas, she tells a little lie based on the memory of an image that her older brother showed to her. But the principal at the kindergarden believes her, and hysteria quickly spreads throughout the community, aided by well-meaning but overprotective adults whose leading questions mean that the children give them the answer they are looking for. The most shocking – if perhaps unsurprising – thing is that the conviction that Lucas is guilty remains even after the case is dismissed because the ‘evidence’ provided by the children does not match with reality. Even contradictory statements by Klara herself are downplayed by her parents. Has Lucas’s life been ruined by this innocent little lie?

I’ve seen some critics lamenting the heavy-handedness with which the community’s witchhunt is depicted. In particular, they seem to target the psychologist and principal who assumed guilt right from the start of their ‘investigation’. But the really sad thing is that it does happen in real life. I also came across different types of cases, but the one link between them all is that the victims were hounded after false rumours were started about them. This might seem like a drop in the ocean in comparison to the number of abuse cases that go unreported and/or unsolved. But it’s not a matter of numbers: just one is too many. The fact is that our societies are failing not only people who are assaulted, but also people who are wrongly accused of being assailants. The question that we need to ask ourselves is: what do we do about this?

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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