Hotel Rwanda

I recently watched this movie which had won much critical acclaim last year. It is the first movie that I have watched in 2007, and I can say that the year has begun well at least on the count of watching good movies.

‘Hotel Rwanda’ is not a movie that you can watch for entertainment or for whiling away time. In stead, its a movie that inspires a terrible fear and loathing of man’s capability for beastliness. The fact that it is based on a real incident which did happen, and not a mere figment of imagination, makes it even more revolting and heart wrenching.

The movie is based on the mass genocide in Rwanda as a result of a conflict between its two ethnic sects – Hutu and Tutsi. The protagonist is a hotel manager, Paul, who living amongst his hotel’s clients from the west, has begun to believe himself to be a part of them. When the war breaks out between the two sects, most westerners are called back by their countries, while the war-ridden Rwanda is left to its own misery. Most nations decline to send a UN army to handle the situation. This is when Paul realizes the fallacy of his make-belive and sets out to help his people. He opens the hotel to both Hutu and Tutsi refugees, fights the many raids and attacks on the hotel by the Hutu army and uses bribes and his diplomatic relations to tide over many difficult situations. Finally, with repeated appeals, his family and all other refugees are able to cross the border and reach safer territory .

The movie is weaved around disparate themes, which have been sewn together with excellent direction. Its a story of a man growing out of a comfortable zone and facing reality.
Its also a story of an average person concerned for his own safety reaching out to a group of over 1200 people and assume responsibility for their security.
Its a saga of international neglect, highlighting UN and US apathy to events that do not concern the latter directly. While US quickly moved to cave in on Saddam Hussein, crying foul for his atrocities in Iraq on a few hundred people, it shut itself from the pleas of more than a million Rwandans who were slain in less than three months.
Above all, its a sordid tale of cruelty, atrocity, beastliness, which one section of man carried out on another. It shows how power can inflitrate the virtue we call ‘humanity’ and drive men to conduct holocausts. It outlines the repulsive idea that a person can imagine eradicating a race of humans, line the roads with human corpses and still conduct ‘business-as-usual’.

It is a very sensitive and journalistic narration of all these sensitive themes. An eye-opening, serious and briliant work.

3 thoughts on “Hotel Rwanda

  1. I haven’t seen Hotel Rwanda myself. From your post, I can think a possible parallel I can draw to is another of my fav movies… “Schindler’s list”, based on a true life incident during the WW-II, relates the tale of Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten-German Catholic businessman who was instrumental in saving the lives of over one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust. The title refers to a list of the names of 1,100 Jews whom Schindler hired to work in his factory and kept from being sent to the Nazi concentration camp. Truly emotional and touching I must say!


  2. Yes, Schindler’s list is a great movie, though I have seen a particularly bad print of the same. I too, think that there is a parallel between the two movies – in each case a single man fighting against a cruel fate to save a large number of people


  3. Yes, Hotel Rwanda has been made with the correct dose of everything. My Mother was close to tears after watching it. I’d nevr forget how the word ‘cockroaches’ was used throughout the movie. Sudan and somalia are other places the west and the UN in particular are to blame for the scheme of things. One only wishes to be told of the Africa about which Wilbur Smith writes!!


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