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Author Topic: Hotel Rwanda
solarpower
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posted 02 February 2005 01:08 PM      Profile for solarpower   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is something sickening about turning genocide into entertainment.
Where people can sit and drink jumbo pops while shoveling a barrel of popcorn down their throats.
Where an actor can perhaps win an award for his portrayal of General Dallaird, like he's actually DONE something of value.
A documentary, yes.
A movie, shame!

From: that which the creator created from | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 02 February 2005 01:14 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Um. How are stories such as the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Apartheid, and the like supposed to be told?

Seriously.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 02 February 2005 01:24 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Three related points:

1) The movie may not be just entertainment. Entertainment can be used to educate--the sugar coating on the bitter pill. The best writers have always modulated that process so the pill's neither too sweet, nor too bitter.

2) Documentaries tell stories too. At least the good ones do. Any documentary that people actually watch, and therefore has any effect, tells a good story.

3) Nobody watches documentaries or movies that fail to entertain.

[ 02 February 2005: Message edited by: bittersweet ]


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lagatta
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posted 02 February 2005 01:51 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll reserve judgement on it until I've seen it - a film that is nothing but an endless litany of murder and mayhem would simply desensitise any audience to the plight of genocide victims.

Wasn't the point about General Dallaire that he ATTEMPTED to warn the world, to no avail?

Please don't forget the extermination of many aboriginal peoples here in the Americas in our litany of genocides!


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 02 February 2005 01:56 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The movie was excellent. To me, it is more important that a general audience find out about what happened in Rwanda, than that they are drinking coke while they watch.

There was no misuse of the tragedy by the filmmakers (who were South African); rather, they made a real attempt to make us feel what it might have been like to be there as Dallaire and others were, when things spun out of control.


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HeywoodFloyd
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posted 02 February 2005 02:01 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Please don't forget the extermination of many aboriginal peoples here in the Americas in our litany of genocides!

I wasn't trying to. I just picked genocides from the most recent genocide movies I've seen.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 02 February 2005 02:59 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks Heyword. A fairly recent movie about a late 20th-century genocide of Amerindian people is The Haunted Land by Mary Ellen Davis, about the extermination of Mayan villages in Guatemala, but that was a documentary, not a feature film. A feature film touching on that subject was El Norte, but it also dealt with the plight of refugees from that genocide as undocumented migrants in California.
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skdadl
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posted 02 February 2005 03:03 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
jeff house, I haven't seen the film, but critics I have read (Canadian) have been bothered by Nolte's portrayal of Dallaire as merely ineffectual (in, of course, a role written that way).
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HeywoodFloyd
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posted 02 February 2005 03:13 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Speaking of South American Natives, one of my all time favorite movies was The Mission.
From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
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posted 02 February 2005 03:22 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Supposedly Nolte plays a drunkard, which is unfair to Dallaire, and presumably is why the Nolte character has a fictional name. Still, it is supposed to be good. I have glanced through Dallaire's book and there is a sense of helplessness and having to bluff a lot; he mentions the hotel a few times as one place he worried about.

Schindler's List was bearable because you knew that some of the people were going to survive.

lagatta, was El Norte the one about the brother and sister; and she died of typhoid from a rat bite? It is a good movie. There is some humour mixed in with the tragedy; a classic scene where the sister's California employer explains all the settings and chemicals to be used in washing and drying the clothes; and she ends up washing them and laying them out on the lawn to dry as she would have done in her village.

[ 02 February 2005: Message edited by: Contrarian ]


From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 02 February 2005 03:23 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta: A feature film touching on that subject was El Norte, but it also dealt with the plight of refugees from that genocide as undocumented migrants in California.
Salvador came 3 years after; it made a lot of people sit up and take note of the situation in that country for the first time. Again by telling an entertaining story.

From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 02 February 2005 04:25 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
critics I have read (Canadian) have been bothered by Nolte's portrayal of Dallaire as merely ineffectual

I agree that is basically the portrayal. I have read Dallaire's book, and of course he portrays himself as potentially effectual, but undermined by the Security Council, which won't let him do anything about the genocide.

That said, I don't think the portrait of Dalliare was unsympathetic; there is one speech I remember in particular where his despair and anger at the role of the great powers is clearly expressed.


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Coyote
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posted 02 February 2005 05:00 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by solarpower:
There is something sickening about turning genocide into entertainment.
Where people can sit and drink jumbo pops while shoveling a barrel of popcorn down their throats.
Where an actor can perhaps win an award for his portrayal of General Dallaird, like he's actually DONE something of value.
A documentary, yes.
A movie, shame!

Seeing as this is the original argument, I will attempt to respond:

I have great respect for the documtary genre; I think it has the capacity to educate in a condensed an effective manner, and to an audience that might not otherwise pick up a paper or read a book on a given subject. But it is no less subjective than any feature film or "dramatization" - documentarians must choose which facts to exclude or emphasize just as any creator of fiction must do the same.

An example: I have read countless accounts of the troubles in Northern Ireland, and have heard and read various accounts of Bloody Sunday for as long as I have been interested in the subject (one that does not receive enough attention today - perhaps the lack of bodies on the street has diminished North American appetite for discussion of the real issues). But the movie - albeit done in quasi-documentary style - hit me very hard. One had a sense of what the day must actually have been like.


From: O for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
solarpower
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posted 02 February 2005 05:19 PM      Profile for solarpower   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
thanks for the feedback.
I'm a documentary junkie and not at all into movies.
I'd be interested in General Dallairds opinion of it too.
I'm glad those who have seen it aren't condemning it.

From: that which the creator created from | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 02 February 2005 05:22 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
solarpower, did you know that there is also a documentary, with the same title as Dallaire's book -- Shake Hands with the Devil -- about to be released?

It has just premiered at the Sundance Festival, and won some sort of award. Redford took the time to introduce it personally. Dallaire was present, and was lionized.


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solarpower
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posted 02 February 2005 05:32 PM      Profile for solarpower   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll keep my eyes open for it.
I'll be watching his return to Rwanda on CBC Newsworld tonight.

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Contrarian
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posted 02 February 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at Sundance. I saw the short version; it was good. NOTE THAT IT'S ON TONIGHT.
quote:
A shortened version of Shake Hands With The Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire will air Monday at 9pm on CBC-TV and Wednesday at 10pm on CBC Newsworld.

CBC link
I didn't realise until just now that what I saw had been shortened; I did think at the time it could have been longer than one hour.

[ 02 February 2005: Message edited by: Contrarian ]


From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
saskganesh
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posted 13 March 2005 08:23 PM      Profile for saskganesh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i just saw this. its very good and i highly recommend it.

don't knock fiction. people like to learn about the world through stories and story telling.


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HellofaSandwich
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posted 14 March 2005 07:11 PM      Profile for HellofaSandwich   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Contrarian:
Supposedly Nolte plays a drunkard, which is unfair to Dallaire, and presumably is why the Nolte character has a fictional name.

Wow... there's a lot of misconceptions in this thread.

Nolte isn't playing a drunkard, though there is a scene or two where he has a drink (one in a social setting, and another out of helplessness when he finds out that a Belgian security force is only coming to the Hotel to evacuate foreigners as opposed to establishing a peacekeeping presence). And I don't think that Nolte's character was written to be "ineffectual" to imply that he was imcompetent - it shows him doing the absolute best he can with both hands tied behind his back by his superiors, and his legal and resource constraints. There is a scene where he is desperately trying to protect a convoy of refugees from a massive armed mob... he does everything he can, and saves as many as he can.

I thought it was a great portrayal.

[ 14 March 2005: Message edited by: HellofaSandwich ]


From: Edmonton | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
HellofaSandwich
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posted 14 March 2005 07:15 PM      Profile for HellofaSandwich   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by solarpower:
There is something sickening about turning genocide into entertainment.
Where people can sit and drink jumbo pops while shoveling a barrel of popcorn down their throats.
Where an actor can perhaps win an award for his portrayal of General Dallaird, like he's actually DONE something of value.
A documentary, yes.
A movie, shame!

The makers of this film have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. You should see the movie before you levy such unfair criticisms, or at least do a bit of research.

If they made a "love story in Rwanda" or a Rambo-style shoot-'em-up in Rwanda type of flick, then I would agree with you. But instead, this film told a powerful, resonating, and disturbing story. It was definitely one of the most important films of 2004, and indeed, this decade.

And I could be wrong, but I don't recall Nick Nolte picking up any awards for this movie...


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Macabee
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posted 14 March 2005 10:21 PM      Profile for Macabee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The film was moving and provocative. Don Cheadle's portrayal of the hotel manager Paul, was a tour de force. The woman who played his wife (sorry I dont recall her name) gave a bravura performance.

Movies such as these can educate, can move one to tears of understanding. I urge people to see it.


From: Vaughan | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 14 March 2005 10:49 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Roger Ebert says:

quote:
Cheadle holds his performance resolutely at the human level. His character intuitively understands that only by continuing to act as a hotel manager can he achieve anything. His hotel is hardly functioning, the economy has broken down, the country is ruled by anarchy, but he puts on his suit and tie every morning and fakes business as usual -- even on a day he is so frightened, he cannot tie his tie.

He deals with a murderous Hutu general, for example, not as an enemy or an outlaw, but as a longtime client who knows that the value of a good cigar cannot be measured in cash. Paul has trained powerful people in Kigali to consider the Hotel Des Milles Collines an oasis of sophistication and decorum, and now he pretends that is still the case. It isn't, but it works as a strategy because it cues a different kind of behavior; a man who has yesterday directed a mass murder might today want to show that he knows how to behave appropriately in the hotel lobby.

Nolte's performance is also in a precise key. He came to Rwanda as a peacekeeper, and now there is no peace to keep. The nations are united in their indifference toward Rwanda. In real life, Nolte's bad-boy headlines distract from his acting gifts; here his character is steady, wise, cynical and a master of the possible. He makes a considered choice in ignoring his orders and doing what he can do, right now, right here, to save lives.


quote:
This all succeeds as riveting drama. "Hotel Rwanda" is not about hotel management, but about heroism and survival. Rusesabagina rises to the challenge. The film works not because the screen is filled with meaningless special effects, formless action and vast digital armies, but because Cheadle, Nolte and the filmmakers are interested in how two men choose to function in an impossible situation. Because we sympathize with these men, we are moved by the film.

Sounds pretty good...

[ 14 March 2005: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


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Papal Bull
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posted 15 March 2005 12:21 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am wondering is this out on DVD/will be out soon?
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Anchoress
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posted 15 March 2005 12:36 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know about elsewhere, but it's still in the theatres in Vancouver.
From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 15 March 2005 02:50 PM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The woman who played his wife (sorry I dont recall her name) gave a bravura performance.

it was sophie okonedo, and she had a cute story about hearing being nominated for an oscar ...

quote:
Okonedo: I was not even listening to the nominations. My mother and I were walking in a park, and there's an art gallery --

Tavis: This is in London, where you live.

Okonedo: In London, yes. And we were just in Kenwood House, which is a stately home art gallery, sitting on a bench, looking at some paintings, and the phone went. And I turned to my mother and said, I've just been--I could hardly get the words out-- nominated. And she just went crazy. I mean, she leapt up out of her seat and was screeching and kind of running up and down.

Tavis: In an art gallery.

Okonedo: Yeah. And the security came running in and said what is going on, what is going on here? You can't make this noise in here. And my mom was, damn, my daughter's just been nominated for an Oscar. And we got escorted out of the gallery. And as we got to the kind of entrance, all the people had heard the commotion and gave me a round of applause. And, you know, we had to go from that gallery to get to the car, and we just couldn't walk. We couldn't even get from—we didn't know--the phone was going, and my aunt picked us up in the end and take us to where all the press were. I was in my jogging bottoms, because I hadn't even gotten myself ready or anything. Really, the whole--it was just fantastic. I mean, it really was a great way to hear.



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