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Hotel Rwanda | Film Analysis

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Published: Tue, 16 May 2017

Directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by George and Keir Pearson. Based on real life events in Rwanda during the spring of 1994, the film stars Don Cheadle as hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who attempts to rescue his fellow citizens from the ravages of the Rwandan Genocide. Actors Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Nick Nolte and Jean Reno also appear in principal roles.

The film, which has been called an African Schindler’s List, documents Rusesabagina’s acts to save the lives of his family and more than a thousand other refugees, by granting them shelter in the besieged Hôtel des Mille Collines.

Hotel Rwanda explores genocide, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence

Hotel Rwanda tackles one of the most horrifically ugly events in recent history, when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda initiated a terrifying campaign of genocide, massacring hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis (who had been given power by the departed Belgian colonists), while the rest of the world looked on and did nothing.

Don Cheadle stars as Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager at the fancy Les Milles Collines hotel in Kigali. Paul is a Hutu, and a very successful businessman who smoothly greases the wheels, making powerful connections in all strata of Rwandan life. His wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo of Aeon Flux), is a Tutsi. She urges Paul to use his influence to help local Tutsis, who are being harassed and beaten with increasing frequency, but Paul will only use the political capital he’s built up to help his own family, if and when they need it.

Soon enough, the violence escalates, and the Hutus begin their genocide of the Tutsis. European guests and staff at the hotel are flown out of the country, and Paul is left in charge. He finds that his conscience won’t allow him to watch as the innocent are slaughtered, and before long, the hotel has become a well-appointed refugee camp. Paul is seen as a traitor by some, putting his life in danger, and the predicament of his “guests” grows more precarious every day, but despite good intentions on the part of a journalist (Joaquin Phoenix) and a UN peacekeeping colonel (Nick Nolte), the rest of the world is not eager to intervene and stop the massacre. Hotel Rwanda was directed by Irish filmmaker Terry George (Some Mother’s Son), who co-wrote the script with Keir Pearson.

The characters Rusesabagina and Colonel Oliver negotiating through a political impasse.

In fact, the film’s depiction of events in Rwanda in the early 1990s is remarkably free of dramatic license. The narrative on ethnic conflict in Rwanda and the sequence of events is essentially sound (although it does imply that it was Hutu extremists who assassinated President Juvénal Habyarimana, a thesis that remains contested). The early scenes in town and at the hotel re-create the mood, sights, sounds, and social relations of a small African capital as well as any Hollywood movie ever has.

One quibble: like too many other accounts of the genocide, the story concludes with the arrival of the Tutsi rebels in Kigali, implying that the killings stopped then. This end makes dramatic sense but conveys a historical inaccuracy, since, alas, the country endured many more months of intense violence, including tens of thousands of reprisal killings.

Tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi Peoples lead to a war in Rwanda, where corruption and bribes between politicians are routine. Paul Rusesabagina Don Cheadle, the manager of the Sabena Hôtel des Mille Colline is Hutu, but his wife Tatiana Sophie Okonedo, is Tutsi. His marriage is a source of friction with Hutu extremists, most prominently Georges Rutaganda Hakeem Kae-Kazim, a friendly goods supplier to the hotel who is also the local leader of Interahamwe, a brutal anti-Tutsi militia.

As the political situation in the country worsens, Paul and his family observe neighbours being killed in ethnic violence. Paul curries favor with people of influence, bribing them with money and alcohol, seeking to maintain sufficient influence to keep his family safe. When civil war erupts and a Rwandan Army officer threatens Paul and his neighbours, Paul barely negotiates their safety, and brings everyone to the hotel. More refugees come to the hotel from the overburdened United Nations camp, the Red Cross, and orphanages. Paul must divert the Hutu soldiers, care for the refugees, be a source of strength to his family, and maintain the appearance of a functioning high-class hotel, as the situation becomes more violent

Action Adventure, Art Foreign, Kids Family, Biopic, Politics Religion and Drama

Two recurrent themes jump out at me from the movie Hotel Rwanda.

The first, that everything has a price. Paul Rusesabagina pays for his families and neighbours’ freedom and life by bribing an army officer, even negotiating the price for each. He is able to purchase beer and scotch for the hotel from the distributor, as long as he is willing to pay the price demanded. He consistently bribes the army general for protection for the hotel’s occupants from the armed militia. And when the bribes run out, so does the protection.

The second major theme is one of self-reliance, or absence of external help. Throughout the movie it is repeated that the west refuses to help or does not value the Rwandans enough to intervene in the genocide. The West’s refusal to intervene is seen when the UN peacekeeping force has orders to not use their weapons. It’s seen in the size of the UN peacekeeping force, reduced to 260 men at the beginning of the genocide and civil war in 1994. In the movie this last reduction proved a false hope for the survivors holed up in the hotel. UN reinforcements arrive, only to evacuate many UN peacekeepers and foreign citizens from Rwanda and the hotel, respectively. There is also an episode where certain Rwandans who have foreign connections are granted visas to leave the country because of the intervention of their friends mostly from African nations. The contrast of this action to the wes’s non-intervention is stark. who you know becomes a factor in survival. The distributor where Paul purchases supplies is a member of the Hutu militia. But because he knows him and has had a business relationship with him for years, he’s able at a price to still secure supplies for the hotel residents.

Emotional; mood: Disturbing, the music is unbearably fitting for the mood of the movie.

Hotel Rwanda is a very disturbing film, and yet a very hopeful one as well, vibrant attire, and the smooth, accurate rendering of skin tones.

Hotel Rwanda” is the most inspirational film, about hope within a troubled society, still at peace, but he gradually shifts it to a dark tone as the movie goes on.

Hotel Rwanda is a very disturbing film, and yet a very hopeful one as well, as it shows how amidst horrific brutality, a lone human being can demonstrate how an individual’s willingness to make a stand can make a huge difference in the lives of many of his fellows. It is also an extremely powerful film, capable of inducing nightmares in those who watch it, as the horrific events depicted therein actually took place in the African country of Rwanda during the year 1994.

Hotel Rwanda uses various rhetorical devices in order to express the difference between the initial happy moods of the movie compared to the gloomy mood the creators demonstrate the conflict begins. Some of the most effective rhetorical devices used are the music in the film as well as the comparison between the atmospheres of two similar settings. The objective of the creators was not only to show the audience what was happening in Rwanda, but to make them sympathize with the characters. With these rhetorical techniques, they are successful in doing so because they influence multiple senses in different ways.

The music in Hotel Rwanda is one of the most effective rhetorical tools in any movie because it sets the mood without the need of visuals. In good movies this is necessary because it creates a mood using multi-modal techniques, which are proven to be more effective than if the argument was solely visual.

Hotel Rwanda is an important and carefully crafted film well worth seeing. Set in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, during the genocide of April and May 1994.

If you view this film in conjunction with reading holocaust in Rwanda.

Hotel Rwanda is an important and carefully crafted film well worth seeing. Set in Kigali. We are here as peacekeepers – not peacemakers.

The purpose of showing this movie was to warn Thais to rethink the present political conflict here, which is damaging the Kingdom.

Tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi Peoples lead to a war in Rwanda, where corruption and bribes between politicians are routine.

Paul Rusesabagina and his hotel are the very symbol of hope.

Kaila Manuel


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