Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paul Rusesabagina

Killing is an easy thing to do. To steal someone of his life is just plain simple. Genocide is the plural of killing, killing in numbers. Africa has always been in the turmoil of ethnic clashes. People killing of each other for the sake of the Nation and preserving the bloodline is total bullshit. The Horror of watching an entire nation turning into blood soaked hunters is chilling than all the horror movies you have seen. It’s like Zombies, the only difference being that they don’t eat you bur it’s certainly contagious. How else could they possibly fight such evil! Hotel Rwanda (2004 Dir: Terry George) starring Don Cheadle tells the horrific tale of Rwandan Genocide where one man’s actions saved scores of lives of others.
Set against the backdrop of the Hutu-Tutsi clashes in Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina who works at the Belgium owned Des Mille Collins Hotel is marries to Tatiana, a nurse and has 3 kids. As being the manager of a 5 Star hotel, he meets and befriends a lot of powerful people including the General of the Rwandan Army. Rwanda is on the verge of signing a major political peace deal between the Hutu controlled regime and the Tutsi led Rebels coming from the North. The Hutus are concerned about the Tutsi’s rising to power; so they begin to attack them with the Government on their side which gives rise to the Rebel movement of the Tutsi’s. They are finally able to reach an accord on a peace deal so that they can work out their differences mutually. Things go wrong when the Hutu President’s Plane is shot down before the deal is signed which sparks of an ethnic genocide of the Tutsi’s at the hands of Hutus.
Paul Rusesabagina, concerned about his wife and children, takes them to the safety of the Mill Collins, after trading them for money with a Hutu Army General, who had captured them for execution. Also along with his wife and children, he buys the lives of his Tutsi neighbors with the money from the safe of the Hotel he used to work before. He takes them all to his hotel, which is under UN Peace Corps protection. The White manager, who leaves the country entrusts the Hotel with Paul and manage it until all the foreign visitors has been evacuated. In charge, Paul has more Tutsi Refugees coming into his hotel for safety. When his coworker refuse to work under him, he calls up to Belgium and requests to give him full control of the hotel until the killings are over.
Paul efficiently manages the incoming, ever growing influx of refugees by allocating them rooms and providing them with enough provisions to stay alive until the West intervened for the better. But the UN General, who’s in charge of the safety of the hotel, informs Paul that no help is coming because the Whites don’t care for the African Blacks. This leads Paul to make call his powerful, white friends seeking their help and urges the other refugees to do the same. Meanwhile the T.V. Crew stationed at the Hotel airs the Tutsi massacre footage which puts the event on international conscience.
Gregoire, a Hutu man, working under Paul informs the Interhamwe, the radical group that’s spearheading the genocide about the Tutsi’s at the hotel. Paul holds on his Ark by bribing soldiers and Hutu leaders. When help finally arrives as they are granted asylum in other countries, Paul sends his wife and daughters with other refugees, to the airport, while he stays back with the refugees, against the wishes of his wife. On their way airport, their vehicle is intercepted by the Interhamwe Militia and they are forced to return. Gregoire, the Hutu has betrayed them to the Militia Radio, which offered money for the heads of Tutsi’s on the truck. They barely escape from the hands of Militia and returns to the hotel.
Over 800,000 Tutsi’s were killed in the genocide. The International community responded only after the damage was done. Some critics refer to this movie as the African Schindler’s List. Director Terry George doesn’t capture the audience the attention not by the brutality of the massacre but the helplessness of the victims. Don Cheadle excels in his role but Denzel Washington would have been better as Don wasn’t cast for his physical resemblance either. Sophie Okonedo was terrific. In my opinion her performance overshadowed Don Cheadle. Her image as the grief stricken, terrified mother sticks with you even after the credits roll. It was like she was living the life of Tatiana right in front of our eyes. I couldn’t believe she lost out to Cate Blanchet at the 2004 Oscars. “Aviator” sucked balls and Cate wasn’t top notch either. But it doesn’t matter, who cares about the Oscars anyway?(Not anymore!). This is one movie that shouldn’t be missed for its necessary for men to remind us of the Beasts that we could turn ourselves into once we forget Love and Compassion.


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