Sunday, November 21, 2004

 

"Hotel Rwanda"

In my opinion, Joaquin Phoenix is yet another under-rated talent. And you have to wonder what River could have become as well...

Hotel Rwanda Movie is Retelling of Human Tragedy and Triumph
By Brian Purchia U.S. Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.19 November 2004


TV report transcript

Ten years ago in the small African nation of Rwanda, Hutu extremists slaughtered almost a million of their Tutsi neighbors as well as any moderate Hutus. One man, Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager, was able to save more than a thousand refugees from certain death. His story has become a movie, "Hotel Rwanda." It was recently screened at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and VOA's Brian Purchia was there.

Blood flowed in Rwanda for a hundred days in 1994. When it was over almost a million people were dead. As Rwandans butchered and shot each other the world closed its eyes. Joaquin Phoenix plays a photojournalist covering the massacre.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX – in movie
"I think if people see this footage they'll say, ‘Oh my God, that's horrible,’ and go on eating their dinners."


'Hotel Rwanda' tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina and how, through courage and cunning, he was able to save more than 1200 refugees from Hutu death squads.

DON CHEADLE - in movie
"There will be no intervention force, no rescue. We can only save ourselves."

Paul, a hotel manager in the nation's capital, Kigali, opened his luxury hotel to Rwandans trying to escape the genocide. Paul is played by Don Cheadle.

DON CHEADLE, ACTOR
"It was an amazing privilege, I think, to be able to tell Paul's story."


The real-life hero was on hand for the screening.

PAUL RUSESABAGINA
"People were not informed, were not aware of what was happening. The average American was not informed, some few politicians and few journalists were only aware, but the average American was not."


JOAQUIN PHOENIX - in movie
"Excuse me honey, can I ask you a personal question? Are you a Hutu or a Tutsi?"


ACTRESS
"I am Tutsi."


JOAQUIN PHOENIX
"And your friend, Tutsi?"


ACTRESS
"No, I am Hutu."


JOAQUIN PHOENIX
"They could be twins."


NARRATOR
Sofia Okonedo plays Paul's wife, Tatiana. She hopes the movie will raise awareness about other conflicts.


SOPHIE OKONEDO, ACTRESS
"If somehow it resonates with an audience and they felt slightly different or take a little bit more interest in reading about it or Ivory Coast or the Congo, then our job is done."


DON CHEADLE, ACTOR
"I also hope in just a very basic way that the film entertains and that people are sort of swept up in the telling of the story, because the story it really is a thriller with a real love story at its core and I hope people are moved."


The movie left quite an impression on the audience at the premier.

ED RACKLEY, MOVIEGOER
"It shows the power of individuals to respond to an overwhelming crisis."

'Hotel Rwanda' has already won two prestigious awards: the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival and the American Film Institute's Audience Award. The movie opens nationwide in American theaters in mid-December.

http://www.voanews.com/english/2004-11-19-voa64.cfm

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