Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda
121 minutes
Canada / UK / Italy / South Africa
Directed by Terry George
Seen by Ian and Anne at the Paramount on 10 July 2005.

Staring Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesabagina the Hutu house manager for a Kigali hotel with Jean Reno in a camio role as his Belgian CEO in Lisbon and Nick Nolte as a Canadian colonel working for the UN.

This is the story of a westernised Rwandan who feels that he is above the Hutu / Tutsi conflict and believes not only that he is equal to white people but also that they view him as an equal. These beliefs are destroyed in 1994 one by one as his white manager flees, the Hutu army and militia (Interahamwe) attack his friends, family and hotel, and his white guests are rescued leaving him to protect 1250 ‘cockroaches’ from his fellow Hutu.

There is a sharp dichotomy between the white people who appear in person (hotel guests, UN officers, aid and church workers and journalists) who are mostly concerned and often working desperately to stop or save people from the genocide and the invisible white people outside Rwanda who are voices on the radio and telephone (diplomats and politicians and by implication the rest of us) who did nothing beyond arguing whether we could use the word genocide or not while 600,000 to 1,000,000 people were being killed based on whether their ID card had "HUTU" or "TUTSI" written on it.

Along with this political message is a survival film with surprisingly little blood or violence and plenty of suspense and tension even though we know what will happen. Between the killing, hiding, bribing, rescue attempts etc an awful lot of alcohol is drunk. It is one thing the UN, Tutsi and Hutu have in common.

I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anyone who likes tension during a movie and something to think about afterwards.

Ian’s Rating 4/5
Anne's Rating 4/5

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