a decade after Africas worst genocide of recent times where
almost a million civilians were brutally murdered, a gripping true
story of one individuals selflessness and courage in the face
of immense chaos makes it to the British cinema screen in a Rwandan
answer to Schindlers List.
Elevens Don Cheadle takes the lead role as Paul Rusesabagina,
a Hutu middle-class hotel manager, initially living the high life
of fine cigars and champagne with influential acquaintances and
unprepared for an overnight turnaround of fortune following the
assassination of the Rwandan president by Tutsi rebels.
his wife Tatiana (Oscar-nominated British actress Sophie Okonedo)
a Tutsi, his familys safety are now on the line, though this
is the tip of the iceberg as Paul finds himself responsible for
accommodating over 1,200 as his sophisticated hotel transforms into
a refuge camp for those whose lives are at risk.
by his powerful friends as the west turns a blind eye to the atrocities,
having to work against the propaganda of Hutu Power
radio broadcasts and receiving inadequate help from a Bush-esque
UN Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte), Paul ensures that his guests
escape the same fate of their counterparts across the nation and
Terry George and writer Keir Pearson faced the impossible task of
balancing reality with sensitivity an accurate portrayal
of the genocide, with 800,000 killed mostly with machetes and clubs
within a hundred days, may have been branded as overly distressing.
Instead only a brief glimpse of the fields of bodies is captured
as the scenes focus on the comparatively good fortunes of Pauls
family and the safe refugees.
consequences of the western world and the UN failing to intervene
is arguably played down, but Hotel Rwanda is an important production
in highlighting the danger of having rival groups fighting
for dominance in this day and age. The need for unity and harmony
in Africa is well conveyed in Wyclef Jeans soundtrack record
Million Voices, but the continuing atrocities across
the continent suggest that the film is powerless in wanting to invoke
change for the better.
views expressed in these comments are those of the contributor's
and not the BBC.