Saturday, March 12, 2005

not in my back yard



HOTEL RWANDA

Can you really show me power?
Cos I can show you a slave!
And can you really show me a border?
Cos I can show you a grave!

[The movie reminded me of this part of a poem I wrote back in the 90's (when I was convinced I knew everything) called "Human Constitution" ]

I have no doubt in my mind that there isn't a single human being alive today that wouldn't do anything and I mean ANYTHING for his or her family. What this film highlights, IMHO, is that one of our biggest problems as a race is that we all have different definitions as to what our "family" entails. Some see it as those in their home, some as those in their country, some as from their own ideology, some as from their own religion, some as just themselves.

Think about what you consider to be your "family" and watch Hotel Rwanda.

That this movie did not win an Oscar is blatant proof of the theme running throughout its own storyline - the "West" plain and simple does not care. Apparently stories about a singer, a reclusive millionaire and a fictional female boxer are more important than that of Paul Rusesabagina, a real-life hero placed in an impossible situation by unthinkable circumstances.

To get an idea of the plot, think of a cross between Cry Freedom and Schindler's List. It may also help to bone up on Rwanda's young political history beforehand, though the dialogue does much to quickly bring you up to speed.

Don Cheadle could very well become this generation's Sidney Poitier. The message of this film reaches out and grabs you by the scruff of the neck, not least on the strength of his talent.

Oftentimes a true story can be jazzed up a bit for the big screen, as I'm sure this, Ray and The Aviator were, in their own ways. Nonetheless, you would need a heart of pure stone not to be moved by Paul's turmoil after making his decision when chasing the truck.

There are very strong performances in support by Sophie Okonedo and Nick Nolte; even Joaquin Phoenix and Jean Reno accepted small roles in the hope that their names may inspire more to watch. I hope they do.

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