There is a scene where the Belgian soldiers arrive at Hotel Rwanda. They are there for evacuating the European refugees (NOT THE AFRICAN ONES). While the Europeans are boarding the bus, a group of orphans arrive. The scene is hauntingly adorned with rain and a song in a language not even marginally known to me. It is the closest, any movie has been in my eyes, got close to equaling the greatness of Schindler’s List. That is saying is the closest any movie has been to reaching the highest pinnacle of cinema itself.
Hotel Rwanda is as much about human cruelty as much as it is about morality. It follows Paul Rusesabagina, the assistant manager of a hotel in Rwanda. The year is 1997, the year of the political crisis where erupted in Rwanda between the majority Hutus and the minority Tutsis. During this crisis, Paul Rusesabgina, a Hutu, saved 1280 Tutsis by harboring them at his hotel.
One of the prime reasons people evade such movies is not because of its depressing content, but mostly because of its same structure. There is the man who is only concerned about his family at the inception, but transforms by seeing the horrors around him and in the end, ends up saving lives. Hotel Rwanda is no exception.
Yet, in my opinion, such movies are like horror movies. The plot line may be similar to others, but is the way in which director treats the material the makes the difference. The director here is Terry George, known for his screenplays concerned with The Troubles. And he excels.
The movie feels like a political movement of its own, and here at the top of the pack is Don Cheadle, playing Paul Rusesabagina. The highlight is the control. Cheadle, forget overplaying, never plays it. He is the assistant manager, and that he knows he is. He walks with grace through the hallways laced with refugees except for a scene where he breaks completely, and that too, all alone. Here is a performance that makes me sad to blink, for missing a moment of moment of it seems a crime.
As the movie progresses, there are various attempts of escape which fail again and again. I won’t enlighten you with the details, since it is taxing for me to write and boring for you to read. Let’s say, Hotel Rwanda becomes an oasis in the center of the desert.
Such films deserve to be made, and I have often emphasized on this. Even if it is a shabby effort, they need to be made. Because we cannot forget history. We cannot forget history in a time people still believe Holocaust was fake. I need to know. In the future, my children and in the distant future, my grandchildren, they all need to know. They need to know the humanity can find hope in the worst of time. That even in the darkest of times, in the end, it is only the goodness that eventually prevails.
Hotel Rwanda is a shout-out to the world. We are smeared on the faces with haunting probabilities : Couldn’t the United States help ? Couldn’t France help ? Couldn’t……….
All the world could have. What matters is none of us fucking did. Why ? Because we are COWARDS. There is a strategy Paul employs to get help. He calls the head office of his hotel, based in France, and instead of requesting for help, he says his final goodbye to them. It haunts them more than anything else and he gets. He says ‘ Shame them to help us’. That why this cinematic work is important. So the future generations will be shamed at the past and help their futures.
Rating :- 9.5 / 10
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