Tuesday, August 1, 2006

"SOMETIMES IN APRIL"

Idris Elba, Oris Erhuero, Debra Winger

HBO

Kigali, Rwanda



This is an original HBO film that tells us about the brutal genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. A period when the whole world just stood by and watched from the comfort of their homes. The media's coverage of a massacre of a million people in a faraway land in the African continent merely glanced through the real horror that happened there.

This film focuses on the fate of two brothers. Augustin Muganza, an ex soldier and Honore Muganza, a journalist who works at the local radio station. This gripping film of the painful ordeal of a family trying against all odds to escape from the jaws of an atrocious massacre is very compelling to watch.

The film starts with a teaser that gives us some background information on Rwanda. The audience learns about the different warring factions, the colonizers who conquered that country, as well as the reason why the genocide erupted.

Then the story of the two brothers unfolds. 10 years later (April 2004) both brothers are 'reunited' albeit in very different circumstances. The director, Raoul Peck splices the film with flashback scenes, some footage of the actual genocide are very graphic and gruesome. A few brief scenes of the US's involvement in trying to diffuse the situation would then pan to scenes of a war crimes tribunal in Tanzania where one of the brothers stand accused for his involvement in the massacre.

It is a very powerful film because it moves you terribly. So while the provocative film "Hotel Rwanda" concentrated on the events from the perspective of the people inside the Hotel Mille Colline, "Sometimes in April" is much more poignant. The range of the genocide is given a lot more scope in this film. We are shown the rebels enticed by their raw passion to annihilate the enemy, the anguished ordeal of Augustin and his family. His brother's trial for war crimes. The UN peacekeepers' desperate mission to save as many lives as possible. The US State Department's endless pursuit for a ceasefire. Present day (2004) focus on Augustin trying to give some closure to a very painful episode in his life. They are all very important pieces of a puzzle that all combined to provide this film the veracity it needed to make the world more aware of a sad period in history. All the actors are commendable in showing through their acting, various range of expressive emotions. Truly convincing in their roles.

This story really needed to be told. But most importantly it needs to be seen by everyone who is even remotely aware of events that happen in the world. Events that might not affect us directly yet in its own course does shape the way the world evolves.
I'm glad HBO explored and exhausted all means possible to make this film a poignantly gripping tale of hope and survival amidst such grief and tragedy.

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