After earning a wider reputation with his previous film, LUMUMBA (made in the year 2000), Raoul Peck trains his eye once again on Africa’s recent history in his new work, which takes place against the backdrop of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 that claimed the lives of one million people and forced 3.5 million men, women and children into exile.
The Hutu militia’s massacre of the Tutsis and moderates among their own people began on the morning of 7 April, after Hutu president Habyarimana’s aircraft was shot down during its descent over the capital, Kigali. The slaughter commences within hours of the attack. Streets are blockaded and Interahamwe militia begin to torture and to kill.
One Hutu soldier is Augustin Muganza. He and his comrade Xavier defy their military superiors’ instructions in order to get Augustin’s Tutsi wife and children to safety. But Augustin fails to reach them and is arrested. He has no idea what has happened to his family, but has little hope for their survival.
Ten years later, he decides to put the past behind him and start a new life with his girlfriend, Martine. The couple attend the UN tribunal in Arusha, where Augustin’s brother, Honoré, must answer to a Truth and Reconciliation commission for the inflammatory role that he and other journalists played in this devastating civil war… —Berlinale
Born in Haiti, raised in Zaire (Congo) and France, he additionally is well-suited for the international following he has earned. He remains one of few filmmakers that successfully produce documentaries and feature films. No doubt his early travels throughout the world have informed his particular aesthetic as a filmmaker. Educated in Haiti, Zaire (Congo), France, and Germany, Peck initially studied engineering and economics at Berlin University. He worked as a journalist and photographer from 1980 to 1985. In 1988 he received his film degree from the Berlin Academy of Film and Television. Since graduation, Peck has developed short experimental works, socio-political documentaries, and features based on fact as well as fiction. His feature L’Homme sur les quais (1993) (The Man by the Shore) was the first Haitian film to be released in theatres in the United States; this feature was also selected for competition at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. A true internationalist, Peck divides his… read more
The course of two brothers in the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda: one a soldier who wants nothing of the atrocities being played out, the other a broadcaster later implicated as helping propagate war crimes. There’s a certain grace in how Peck positions his montage, exposition and chronology as part of his storytelling, in foregrounding, accentuating thematic scars, conflict, guilt, justice and memoriam within its immersive dramatising of history. Equally strongly acted, quietly powerful tales of survival led by Elba.