Based on true events during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, an exhausted Catholic priest (John Hurt) and a young idealistic English teacher (Hugh Dancy) find themselves caught in a literal and spiritual crisis. They have to choose whether to stay with the thousands of Tutsis about to be massacred or to flee for safety.
This is an unrated version of the original film edited for clean language. A powerfully moving rendering of the horrific genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994, Beyond the Gates
is the story of the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO), a school run by Europeans and protected by the forces of the United Nations. Overseen by a spiritual, world-weary Catholic priest Father Christopher (John Hurt) and taught by an idealistic, naive young teacher Joe (Hugh Dancy), students and refugees alike perceive the ETO to be a safe haven of learning and love, where backgrounds and circumstances matter little and where humanitarian efforts are positively affecting the lives of the Rwandan people. When tensions between the Hutu and Tsutsi people of Rwanda escalate, father Christopher, teacher Joe, and Capitaine Delon (Dominique Horwitz), commander of the United Nation forces based at the ETO, find themselves thrust into the role of protecting a huge mass of Tsutsi refugees from certain massacre at the hands of the incensed Hutu population. Constrained by orders from the U.N. to "monitor" rather than "enforce" the peace in Rwanda, U.N. military forces are powerless to act against the mounting violence outside the school's gates and it quickly becomes evident to Father Christopher and Joe that they and the Rwandans depending on their protection are in extreme danger. In the end, both men are forced to choose between their humanitarian resolve and the preservation of their very lives. A microcosm of the extensive genocide that was carried out throughout Rwanda from April through June in 1994, the story of the ETO highlights to the larger world the ineffective and arguably destructive role that the Western World played in the Rwandan genocide. The film's immense power stems from stellar performances by John Hurt, Hugh Dancy, and Claire-Hope Ashitey (Marie) as well as exceptional writing by David Wolstencroft and impassioned story telling by director Michael Caton-Jones. Filming on location in Rwanda adds an added layer of authenticity to the film as does the inclusion of Rwandan survivors in various on- and off-screen roles. Bonus features include a 38-minute "making of" feature that's rich with perspective and history thanks to extensive interview footage of producers, actors, and crew members personally affected by the genocide in Rwanda and two separate full-length film commentaries; one by director Michael Caton-Jones and another featuring writer David Wolstencroft and producer David Belton. Contains strong violence and disturbing images. --Tami Horiuchi