[Marxism] Hotel Rwanda

Octob1917 at aol.com Octob1917 at aol.com
Tue Dec 7 09:31:30 MST 2004

I was fortunate enough to attend a preview screening of the movie, Hotel 
Rwanda, last night in Los Angeles. Due for release on December 22nd, it tells the 
true story of a Rwandan - and Hutu - hotel manager in Kigali who saved the 
lives of 1200 Tutsis during the height of the genocide in 1994. The movie was 
directed by Terry George, whose previous credits include In The Name Of The 
Father, which he co-wrote with Jim Sheridan, and Some Mother's Son, which he wrote 
and directed. Hotel Rwanda stars Don Cheadle as the hotel manager, Nick Nolte 
as a Canadian UN Colonel, Joaquin Phoenix as an American cameraman, as well as 
many other lesser-known actors.

This is one of the most powerful and heartrending movies I have ever seen. 
The chaos and terror sucks you up scene after scene, helped along by Oscar 
winning performances from Cheadle and Nolte. The racism of the West is excellently 
portrayed when Belgian paratroopers arrive to escort the white hotel guests to 
safety, abandoning the Tutsi refugees despite them pleading with them to stay 
and protect them from marauding, machete-wielding Hutu gangs (I'm not giving 
it away, btw. This is a scene from the movie's preview).  

Cheadle's character, the situation he finds himself in and his response to 
the carnage taking place around him, echoes that of Oskar Schindler in 
Schindler's List. I'd always considered Don Cheadle to be a good, solid actor, but with 
this performance he takes the craft, in my view, to new heights. Everything 
he does is done subtly, charting the character's journey from social climbing 
hotel manager to a man walking a fine line between life and death for the lives 
of others.

Nolte, too, excels in his portrayal of a brave and honorable Canadian U.N. 
Colonel whose hands are tied by a lack of manpower and rules of engagement that 
preclude him from taking a firm stand when the massacre begins. The 
uselessness of the U.N. in such situations - we've seen it all over Africa, the Middle 
East, Yugoslavia, East Timor - is forcefully revealed, though it won't come as 
a shock to the subscribers of this list.

The hand wringing that took place in the corridors of power in the West, by 
Clinton and his acolytes, by the French and Belgian governments, as the 
genocide took place, left me outraged and disgusted. This hand wringing is 
excellently and subtly depicted throughout the movie and is, of course, testament to 
filmmaker and actors' success in sucking me into the story and making me suspend 

Finally, just as we see genocide unfolding again in the Sudan and new 
tensions arise in Rwanda, Hotel Rwanda is a graphic and terrible reminder of Africa's 
tortured history at the hands of European colonialism. Policies of divide and 
rule, the arbitrary drawing of maps to portion out natural resources and 
land, lie at the root cause of the mess we see in Africa, the Middle East and the 
Indian subcontinent today. 

Every member of the ruling class should be taken by the scruff of the neck 
and dragged along to see this movie.

Then, afterwards, drowned.


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