Yesterday we had the unique opportunity to view some of Eric Kabera’s films. He is the founder and president of the Rwanda Cinema Center and is highly renowned in Rwanda as well as around the world. He has done numerous films covering the genocide so we got to view one of these as well as a more positive one.
The first film we viewed was called Iseta: Behind the Roadblock. It was based around the only recorded (on camera) killings of the genocide. Out of 1 million murders, only the ones in the video are documented. The film set out to discover who were the victims, the families of the victims, as well as the killers. Throughout the documentary, there were interviews with the victims’ families as well as other survivors. By the end of the film, we met the accused killers and most likely the man who did the killing of the people in the video.
The end was the most interesting dynamic for me. The four men who were imprisoned and accused were all sitting one row ahead of the victims’ families. Although there was some arguing/ discussion of which man did the killing in the video, it was a rather docile interaction. They were really emphasizing the reconciliation aspect of the killings rather than getting revenge. I am not an expert on the how the courts rulings played out overall, so I can’t necessarily give the best commentary, but through this video I was very shocked at how peaceful the interactions were. I would highly recommend this movie and although very hard to watch at times, it provides a personal connection to one family murdered in the genocide and causes the genocide to hit closer to home.
The second movie we got a chance to see was called Africa United. This was far more uplifting and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that it was very well done. The movie features five kids trying to get from Rwanda to South Africa for the 2010 world cup. The kids travel by foot, boat, car, and every other way imaginable. The movies also tackles issues such as HIV/AIDS, child soldiers, and prostitutes but the issues are not presented in such a depressing way as the other film.
This movie is not released in the US yet although it was nominated for awards at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival. I found it to be a very enjoyable film to watch and I would highly recommend it to everyone.