…and the quest to see everything

Archive for February 27, 2012

African Diaspora: Kinyarawnda

Sure, the acting is rudimentary here – if you want to watch amateur actors reenacting their national trauma, any hipster can point you to The Battle of Algiers. One of the six interweaving vignettes of Aldrick Brown’s Kinyarwanda (the title deriving from Rwanda’s national language) also portray the Mufti (or the Muslim leaders within the community) conversing about the conquering Belgians diving their country by tribes because of their physical appearance, which sounds like a clunky history lesson. But the others depict different emotions and tactics within characters living in a border city during and after the Rwandan genocide.

It’s not just a simple, melodramatic arc of submission and redemption with which first world audiences are accustomed, although there are some versions and permutations of that here too. We see the soldiers like Lieutenant Rose create new friendships on the field while discussing the ones who ‘understand’ at home. Rose continues the work, in a camp full of humiliated men who participated in the genocide. These stories show characters who become heroes through their natural altruism, remembering that the ones who could be victims are, sometimes, lovers or simply neighbors. Years after the goal is forgiveness, which is asked for and given with sincerity.