Movie Analysis of Hotel Rwanda

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Hotel Rwanda, released in December of 2004, is based on the true story on the life of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager of Hotel des Mille Collines, who saved the lives of 1,268 people in the face of genocide. This movie is based on the true events of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 that occurred in Kigali, the capital and largest city of Rwanda in Africa. It touches upon when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda initiated an act of genocide on thousands of the minority group, Tutsis. This movie was directed/written by Terry George and Keir Pearson. Major cast include Don Cheadle (Paul Rusesabagina), Sophie Okonedo (Tatiana), Joaquin Phoenix (Jack), and Nick Nolte (Colonel Oliver of the UN). Other cast members include Fana Mokoena (General Bizimungu of Kigali Police), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Georges Rutaganda, leader of Interhamwe militia), and Jean Reno (Mr. Tillens, President of Sabena Airlines in Belgium). The movie’s main location of filming was done in Kigali, Rwanda, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi groups are what lead to the war, and eventual genocide, in Rwanda. Paul and his family witness killings in the neighborhood. Although his wife is Tutsi, and himself Hutu, Paul carries protection with people of influence, bribing them with money and alcohol, seeking to maintain sufficient influence to keep his family safe. When the war erupts and a Rwandan Army officer threatens Paul and his neighbors, Paul barely negotiates their safety, and is forced to the decision of bringing everyone to the hotel. More refugees come to the hotel from the overburdened United Nations camp, the Red Cross, and orphanages from all over the country. Paul must divert the Hutu soldiers, care for the refugees, be a source of strength to his family, and maintain the appearance of a functioning luxury hotel as the situation becomes more dangerous. The UN Peacekeeping forces, led by Canadian Colonel Oliver (Nolte), are unable to take assertive action against the Interahamwe since they are forbidden to intervene in the genocide. The foreign nationals are evacuated, but the Rwandans are left behind. When the UN forces attempt to evacuate a group of refugees, including Paul's family, they are ambushed and must turn back. In a last-ditch effort to save the refugees, Paul pleads with the Rwandan Army General, Augustin Bizimungu (Mokoena) for assistance. However, when Paul's bribes no longer work, he blackmails the General with threats of being tried as a war criminal. Soon after, the family and the hotel refugees are finally able to leave the besieged hotel in a UN convoy. They travel through retreating masses of refugees and militia to reach safety behind Tutsi rebel lines. From the beginning, it is clearly displayed that there are more than two sides of the story, with various groups representing each side. The Tutsis are the ones accused in the killing of the Kigali president after his offer of an agreement of peace, and just want peace between both parties. The Hutu are attempting to kill off any person that is Tutsis. They believe that the Tutsis killed the president because they want to keep the power that was left in their hands when the Belgium left Kigali. There is also the UN peacekeepers and other foreign armies (French, Italian etc…), referred in the movie as ‘the West’. One is trying to help the Rwandans stay alive, while the other is stay out of the issue. In the movie, Hutu extremist views’ are specified through the character of George Rutaganda. They reference the Tutsis as ‘cockroaches’, and how the Hutu must rise up and get rid of any Tutsis, along with any of the next generation. As said in the movie by Rutaganda, “Hutu, we must get rid of these cockroaches that are infecting our country”. Most of this encouragement comes from Georges Rutaganda, the leader of the Interhamwe militia, who speaks to the Hutu extremists through the radio, which is the only way you see the Hutu people communicate with one another...
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