Friday, November 18, 2005
Based on a story co-written by BBC journalist David Belton, who was working in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide, Shooting Dogs is a powerful fictionalised account of the incidents which took place at a Kigali school during six days in April of that year. Joe (Hugh Dancy) is a young British man using his gap year to teach in Rwanda. Enthusiastic about Africa and popular with the students, Joe works alongside Father Christopher (John Hurt), the head of the school whose many years in Africa have wearied him and challenged his faith, but who still has a deep seated love of the people. When tension between Tutsis and Hutu escalates into genocide, the school becomes a haven for Europeans and Tutsis, under the protectorate of the UN. Joe and Christopher stay behind when the Europeans are evacuated to safety, only to find that the Rwandans are to be abandoned to their fate. Focusing on the human aspects of the story and determined to bring veracity and authenticity, the film-makers used the real locations and hand held cameras to give a documentary feel, and many of the Rwandan cast and crew were survivors of the genocide. This accomplished and committed film serves as a timely reminder that questioning the West's role in Africa is as vital for the future as understanding the past.
This one is a must watch.