Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

This is one of the --if not THE--most moving films I have ever seen. Period.

After watching Hotel Rwanda last night with Steve, I couldn't just shut off the TV and resume normal life. I felt I needed to process through what I had just seen--yet I was also speechless. It's based on a true story from the civil war in Rwanda in 1994. One of the best words I can use is "troubling"--my brow was furrowed until it made my forehead hurt for most of the movie. I kept shaking my head in disbelief, unable to comprehend the fact that something like this actually happened.

One of the most poignant lines in the entire film is spoken by a photojournalist who is working in Rwanda at the very beginning of the conflict (before all the Westerners are evacuated). After the journalist captures footage of slaughtered innocents, the film's main character, Paul Rusesabagina, urges him to let the world see the video, believing that they will have to intervene if they see it. The journalist responds: "When they see it, they will say, 'My God, that's horrible!' and then go on eating their dinners."

Wow. It's so true. If it's not happening to us, we shake our heads with pity and go on with our lives. It's absolutely heartbreaking to see how the rest of the world turned its back on though we just didn't care. Western officials danced around the word "genocide," somehow denying or ignoring the fact that 8,000 Tutsi were being murdered every day--a rate far higher than the Holocaust of World War II. I suppose when you look more deeply, there are no easy answers...but I am ashamed of how we (not only the U.S., but also the entire United Nations) abandoned Rwanda nonetheless.

I could write about Hotel Rwanda all day, and yet I feel like I don't even know what else to say. Just that this was one of the most gut-wrenching and moving films I have seen in a long, long time. You really should watch this movie. It's not a good choice for a lighthearted "date night" or a time when you just want to watch a good escape-from-reality film. But it's an important movie, one that makes you think and makes you grieve. Just watching the trailer a minute ago (see it here) nearly brought tears to my eyes.

1 comment:

rebekah said...

amy, thank you for commenting on this movie. i too was moved in ways that i didn't know how to describe. it was truly unbelievable. i felt ashamed.