Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith

HBO Has Done It Again

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I remember in the 8th grade and learning about what really happened during the WWII holocaust, going home crying over it, and being grateful for many years afterward that such things would never happen again, in particular in my lifetime. When this particular atrocity happened, I remember vividly thinking about that time in my youth and trying hard to recall another moment of lost innocence.

I urge you all to make an effort to see this film if you have HBO. Record it and loan it to someone else who doesn't have HBO, and make sure it gets passed around. Watch it with your children if you think it is age appropriate, have a discussion about it and encourage this dialogue.


In April 1994, one of the most heinous genocides in world history began in the African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of 100 days, close to one million people were killed in a terrifying purge by Hutu nationalists against their Tutsi countrymen. This harrowing HBO Films drama focuses on the almost indescribable human atrocities that took place a decade ago through the story of two Hutu brothers - one in the military, one a radio personality - whose relationship and private lives were forever changed in the midst of the genocide. Written and directed by Raoul Peck (HBO Films' "Lumumba"), the movie is the first large-scale film about the 100 days of the 1994 Rwandan genocide to be shot in Rwanda, in the locations where the real-life events transpired.

Both an edge-of-the-seat thriller and a chilling reminder of man's incomprehensible capacity for cruelty, Sometimes in April is an epic story of courage in the face of daunting odds, as well as an exposé of the West's inaction as nearly a million Rwandans were being killed. The plot focuses on two brothers embroiled in the 1994 conflict between the Hutu majority (who had ruled Rwanda since 1959) and the Tutsi minority who had received favored treatment when the country was ruled by Belgium. The protagonists (both Hutus) are reluctant soldier Augustin Muganza (Idris Elba), married to a Tutsi and father to three, and his brother Honoré (Oris Erhuero), a popular public figure espousing Hutu propaganda from a powerful pulpit: Radio RTLM in Rwanda.

The drama is set in two periods, which unfold concurrently: In April 1994, after the Hutu Army begins a systematic slaughter of Tutsis and more moderate Hutus, Augustin and a fellow Army officer named Xavier, defying their leadership, attempt to get their wives and children to safety. Separated from his wife Jeanne and their two sons (whom he entrusts to the care of his reluctant brother), Augustin gets caught in a desperate struggle to survive. Barely escaping the purge, he's haunted by questions about what happened to his wife, sons and daughter (who was a student at a local boarding school). In 2004, looking for closure and hoping to start a new life with his girlfriend Martine (who taught at his daughter's school), Augustin visits the United Nations Tribunal in Arusha, where Honoré awaits trial for the incendiary role he and other journalists played in the genocide. In the end, through an emotional meeting with Honoré, Augustin learns the details of his family's fate, giving him closure and, perhaps, hope for happiness in the future.

Tags: america undercover, documentary film, films

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