It’s a great feeling to find a movie that comes out of nowhere—with little fanfare, a small budget and tells a story you’ll never forget. From his office Roger talks about one of his favorite films of 2011.
A film named "Kinwaryanda" is on my list of the best films of 2011, but I don't suppose you've heard of it. This is Bill Kurtis speaking for Roger Ebert. This one is like the other side of the great 2004 film "Hotel Rwanda." It also involves the genocidal war in the African nation by the members of one tribe, the Tutsi, against those of another, the Hutu. The film opens with a scene involving two sweethearts of the different tribes.
As a soldier beats a man for the crime of belonging to the wrong tribe, he is interrupted by the leader of a military unit trained in neighboring Uganda for the purpose of being peace.
That is Cassandra Freeman, very effective as the no-nonsense peace-keeper. Rwandas are split between the Catholic and Muslim faiths, and here a priest is with rufuges who seek shelter in a mosque from the leader of the nation's Muslims.
The title, "Kinyarwanda," is the name of the common language used by both tribes in Rwanda. The film, however, is largely in English. It provides a riveting eye-level view of a genocide that took some 400,000 lives, which we see not with the distance of a documentary but in the heartbreaking stories of individual lives. "Kinwaryanda" has already played in a group of AMC theaters, but look for it to become available On Demand.