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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 10:47 GMT
First Rwandan genocide film hits screens
This priest is one of the main figures in the film
Plays have been put on about the genocide, but this is the first film

The producers of the first cinema feature film about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda say they are delighted with the results of its commercial premiere.

British and Rwandan producers made the film, called 100 Days, in an attempt to popularise facts about the genocide by setting them in the dramatic context of one family's experience.

An estimated 800,000 people were killed in 1994 when government-backed ethnic Hutu death squads tried to wipe out the country's ethnic Tutsis after Tutsi-dominated rebels had invaded the country.

The film opened earlier this month in a multi-screen cinema complex in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, and has sold more tickets than an American Hollywood import showing alongside it.

1994: Year of genocide
April
Rwandan president Habyarimana killed in plane explosion
April -July
An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus killed
July
Tutsi-led rebel movement RPF captures Rwanda's capital Kigali
July
Two million Hutus flee to Zaire, now the DRC
Genocide might seem an unlikely subject for a cinema feature, but several internationally-successful films about the genocide of the Jews, such as Schindler's List, have shown it is possible to popularise tragic historic events.

This story of the Rwandan genocide, titled 100 Days, shows us how a beautiful young Rwandan woman and her handsome fiance experience the killings.

This romantic Boy-Girl story is designed to be universal and appeal to audiences from Toronto to Tokyo.

Set in the haunting beauty of the Rwandan countryside, 100 Days has tension from the moment the killers plot their work to the military intervention of the rebels which stopped the mass killing.

No western heroes

But this film differs from the Hollywood treatment of the genocide of the Jews in two crucial respects.

Most obviously, it is set in Africa, and there has always been less international interest in Africa than Europe.

Secondly, the producers deliberately resisted the temptation of making it easily accessible to western audiences by creating a western heroic character.

To have done so would have been totally dishonest, they said, because there were no western heroes, and in fact the west betrayed the people of Rwanda.

And so most of those appearing in 100 Days are Rwandans with little previous acting experience.

The producers are hoping that the sucessful commercial premiere in Uganda will be followed by more screenings worldwide.


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15 Aug 02 | Africa
29 Jul 02 | Africa
24 Jul 02 | Africa
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