Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda is an incredibly harrowing and emotionally draining film depicting the genocide of the Tutsi's in Rwanda in 1994. The true story of Paul Rusesabagina (played by Don Cheadle who got an Academy Award nomination for his role) and his courageous actions to save 1,200 Tutsi and Hutu refugees. Paul was the manager of the Milles Collines Hotel, a four-star hotel in the city of Kigali, Rwanda. Being the hotel manager Paul was able to make valuable connections and friends with many important and influential people including Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte) of the UN and General Bizimungu (Fana Mokoena) of the Rwandan army. The Hutus had discriminated and fought against the Tutsis for many years. This is all because when Belgium occupied Rwanda, they classified all Rwandans into two categories based on their height, nose and color of their skin. These two categories were Hutu and Tutsi, and the Belgians put the Tutsis in charge. However when the Belgians left, they left the Hutus in charge and the Hutus sought out revenge on the Tutsis who had been in power for many years prior. The Hutu president of Rwanda had just signed a peace treaty that meant better times for all people of Rwanda, but Tutsi rebels assassinated soon the president leading the country into all-out civil war. At first Paul's only concern was to save his family, but once he realized that there would be no help from the United Nations or anyone else he knew that he could not just let all his neighbors and innocent countrymen be slaughtered in the genocide. Paul then opened the Milles Collines to the refugees, and used his connections within the UN for some protection. He also bribed General Bizimungu to have Rwandan police guarding the entrance. An incredible film by director Terry George that will leave you emotionally wrecked. Outstanding performances by Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo, who played Paul's wife Tatiana, lead the film with other outstanding performances by the rest of the cast. Hotel Rwanda is definitely a must see film, if not to just shed light on what happened in Rwanda and is still happening in other African countries today. Overall 4.0/4 Stars Grade = A

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