“You do not think you can kill themall?”
“Why not? We’re half-way therealready.” - From “HotelRwanda”
“Hotel Rwanda” is an excruciatinglytruthful and harsh docu-drama addressing the Rwandan genocide in 1994.After the Belgian conquest, the Rwandans were split into two ethnicgroups: the Hutu and Tutsi. For a time, the minority Tutsi ruled andoppressed the Hutu, but when power reversed, the majority Hutu vowed toexterminate all Tutsi blood.
“Hotel Rwanda” tellsthe story of Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a moderate Hutu hotelmanager whose life deteriorates as violence and hatred take over hisnation. Although he is relatively safe, his Tutsi wife, family andneighbors face life-threatening conditions that shatter all safety intheir lives.
Paul’s elite Hotel des Milles Collines servesas a refugee camp for his family, neighbors and hundreds of otherTutsis. Their lives are in danger with every breath they take, but theyfeel blessed compared to those who are dragged from their homes,brutally killed, or sold into prostitution.
Paul becomesresponsible for the hundreds of desperate lives in his hotel and relieson the prospect of international intervention. When he learns there willbe no help, Paul must take matters into his own hands. Using bribery andsmooth talk, he maneuvers around violence to overcome the devastatingconditions and lead his people to safety.
This film is shockingand disturbing because it relates a true story of recent humansuffering. It reminds us of a “forgotten” genocide oftenneglected in school curricula. Perhaps this movie is most powerfulbecause it follows the struggles of a small group ofRwandans.
“Hotel Rwanda” is “real” to theaudience and informative about the tribal conflict and tragedy. Withremarkable performances and presentation of one of the most tragicevents of our time, this courageous film will make any audience burnwith anger at the unimaginable circumstances the protagonist must dealwith.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.