January 17, 2008

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Rated PG-13
121 minutes

A FREE Screening and Lecture:

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

January 17, 2008 at 7:00 pm in 26-100

Co-sponsored by MIT STAND. Free African refreshments will be provided.

Hotel Rwanda will be followed by a lecture featuring Marie Gakuba, who was 8 years old during the genocide and lost both parents and four siblings. She was adopted in 1995 and moved here in 2004, and is now a junior at the University of New Hampshire majoring in political science and international affairs.

Don Cheadle gives a riveting performance as Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a European-owned hotel in Rwanda, who created a secret refugee camp for the Tutsi people during the brutal genocide committed against them by the Hutu people in 1994. His efforts helped to save 1200 lives out of close to a million who were killed. Hotel Rwanda shows this man's courage, while also capturing the political events that occurred between April and September 1994.

Powerful acting from all cast members, including throngs of children, makes this film touching and believable. Sophie Okonedo offers moving support as Rusesabagina's wife Tatiana, Nick Nolte shows knowing machismo as an American UN officer, and Joaquin Phoenix turns in a heartfelt display as a TV journalist. But it is the delicate treatment that director Terry George gives the insane, helpless situation depicted in Hotel Rwanda which makes the film so penetrating. While the violence and gore of the genocide play a disturbing part in the film, the focus lies on the heroism of its protagonist and the strength with which he navigates under seemingly impossible odds. []

"The film defines how, using cunning and courage, a person can change the course of history -- and stand up to the inhumanity in our midst."
      -- Paul Clinton, CNN. Read this review.

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