RWANDA SOMETIMES IN APRIL
A few weeks ago I watched - finally - the wonderful movie SOMETIMES IN APRIL - and ever since then I've been lending it out to friends and family and hearing their praise for it - all of it summed up in the words: "This is a must-see movie for anyone wanting to see, feel and understand the Rwandan genocide. It's a movie that touches the heart and soul. Now I understand", they say "how the genocide was planned and perpetrated." And then they always add: "Is the country really that beautiful?" to which I reply, "Yes, it's hard to believe, but it really is that beautiful". See DESTINY DESTINATION RWANDA.
The most wonderful thing for me - in watching SOMETIMES IN APRIL - is that I have BEEN to the places it portrays and SEEN those 'Thousand Hills' and their people myself. No doubt that also gives the movie a profound dimension to Rwandans living there and outside in the Diaspora. It even showed, on-location, the UN's (United Nations) ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, where the masterminds of the genocide live in luxury while their surviving victims parade before the judges year in and year out.
SOMETIMES IN APRIL is more than just a movie - it is actually a docu-drama - with live footage of real people - for example Clinton and UN officials and real-time TV-news coverage. And to top it all off, one of its main characters is my favourite female actor, Debra Winger. Most of the other actors are Rwandans and the film was shot entirely on location in Rwanda.
For a long time - ever since it came out two years ago - I've been waiting for SOMETIMES IN APRIL to make its appearance in North America. I'd read the original synopsis and it sounded more interesting than that of HOTEL RWANDA which was made around the same time. I have two friends (well, one's an acquaintance) who are in the movie-rental business - one concentrating on new releases and the other on classics, documentaries and obscure, non-Hollywood grade movies - and neither of them had it in their catalogues, or had plans for ordering it.
One told me over Christmas that he'd ordered A SUNDAY IN KIGALI and SHOOTING DOGS with me in mind (knowing that I love Rwanda), but I told him that I wasn't expecting those movies to be any better than HOTEL RWANDA which he knew I despised.
A bookish friend who shares my interest in the subject of Rwanda and to whom I lent the classic "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families" gave me the book "A Sunday in Kigali" a few years ago, thinking that I'd like it, but I didn't. It's all about some French guy who falls in love with a Tutsi woman and then returns after the genocide to Rwanda and stays in - you guessed it - the same "Hotel des Milles Collines" that the movie HOTEL RWANDA was named after - and the entire book has a kind of sleazy, sex-infested tone to it, all originating from the point of view of this Frenchman - a journalist I believe, although it's been ages since I've read it and the details are therefore hazy. When I heard a movie had been made about it I thought to myself "typical Hollywood" again - all action taking place around the swimming pool of a hotel - how trivial and boring.
And about SHOOTING DOGS I'm not much more enthused, having read in the reviews that it's going to show lots of violence and horror with a Hollywood actor - John Hurt - who starred as Winston Smith in the horrible Hollywood version of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR and more recently as a "Big Brother" character in V FOR VENDETTA which makes a hero out of an admitted Devil who lives in a tunnel underground and blows up England's symbols of Justice and Democracy - the Old Bailey and the Parliament Buildings. In SHOOTING DOGS Hurt plays an English priest - a fictional character - who stays behind with Rwandans who will soon be slaughtered - when everyone else (in truth) leaves.
So, with no help forthcoming from my contacts in the movie-rental business, I went online - and using my $25.00 Telus Amazon Christmas Gift Certificate (for being a valued customer) - I ordered the DVD version of SOMETIMES IN APRIL and, as described above, it arrived, I loved it, and now I lend it around - even to my friend whose an expert in the field. He and his wife loved the movie so much he's ordering copies for themselves and to rent out to his customers.
My video friend explained to me that the reason SOMETIMES IN APRIL isn't in the mainstream rental stores is because it is a "made for TV" movie - an HBO (Home Box Office) film. He researched it and said it had been aired on TV on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) but I had never seen it advertised where I live (not that I watch much TV).
In any event that explains why SOMETIMES IN APRIL is not your typical "Hollywood" movie, ie it wasn't made in Hollywood.
A few years ago I fleetingly read somewhere that witches and wizards make their wands out of a wood named holly, ie the wood of the holly tree and that is most likely the derivation of the name "Hollywood". It makes sense. Afterall, most Hollywood movies are so violent, pornographic and destructive to the human psyche and spirit that one suspects they've been brewed up by some evil witch or wizard, like some toxic brew from MacBeth, ie "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble" etc.
But, back to SOMETIMES IN APRIL which is NOT a Hollywood movie in any sense of the word. I liked it so much that I venture to say that it could go hand-in-hand with a movie that is yet to be made - but which should be made - which is the story of Paul Kagame and the Rwandese Patriotic Front - and how they came down from exile in Uganda - in July 1994 - to stop the Rwandan genocide - which has been so tellingly portrayed in SOMETIMES IN APRIL.
All the best,
Jackie Jura, 2007
HOTEL RWANDA HERO HOAX and HOTEL HERO NOT ORDINARY and RWANDA'S GOOD MAN KAGAME and HOW KAGAME BECAME LEADER and RWANDA REP DEFENDS KAGAME and ADAD IS GENOCIDE MOUTHPIECE
1984 A BAD MOVIE
16.Ministry of Truth (Lies) and 25.Prolefeed
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