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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
Kinyarwanda is a superbly made life-giving film about Rwanda, the 1994 genocide, inter-faith relationships, and reconciliation. I serve on the board of a non-profit that works in Rwanda and I've been to Rwanda four times in the last six years. I've seen and own DVDS of Sometimes in April, Beyond the Gates, Shake Hands with the Devil (the documentary and dramatic versions) Frontline's Ghosts of Rwanda and Hotel Rwanda. I attended the Seattle premiere of Kinyarwanda and saw it a second time during it's short run in Seattle in December 2011. I love this film. Kinyarwanda is different than the other fine films I've seen on Rwanda and the 1994 genocide. Opening in a house party in Kigali with young adults dancing, viewers are drawn first into the relationships of the principles. The genocide is pervasive, but in the background as the stories of Hutus and Tutsis, Christians and Muslims, begin to unfold for the viewer. Scenes of a Gacaca (a community based form of justice) and a Rwandan wedding invite viewers into the post genocide lives of the Rwandese people learning to live, reconcile, and forgive. I was heartened by the story line exploring Rwanda's Muslim Imans discussing how to respond to the genocide and their decision to invite Hutus and moderate Tutsis to find refuge in their mosques. I'm pre-ordering my DVD today! Murakoze Mr. Brown!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
I was lucky enough to see this film on the last day of the 2011 Sundance Festival. I finally had a day off from my volunteer duties and I picked the closest theater and the film that started next. Thank the gods it was Kinyarwanda. Not only was this movie a powerful film that left me speechless, but it was a film about one of the least talked about genocides in history that ended on a hopeful note. Hopeful!

I walked out of the theater unable to talk, trying not to cry. I shook the producers hand, unable to say anything to him and he just nodded in understanding.

Before that and to date I have never seen a film that left me feeling like that.

This film made my Sundance experience and if you are considering the purchase of this dvd/blue ray, do so. If you don't, you will be missing out on a profound film experience.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I saw Kinyarwanda at the SF film festival, and can't believe I'm the first to review this incredible film.

The movie is an incredibly powerful portrayal of several people's stories that take place and intertwine before, during, and after the 1993 Rwandan genocide.

Most of the actors are Rwandan citizens who survived the attrocities in 1993. Many of the cast members are first-time actors, and the film was shot on a shoestring budget but you would never know it: The performances and production values are terrific across the board.

At the film festival one of the producers was there to take questions. Many of the actors had seen Hotel Rwanda which was entirely produced elsewhere, and were not happy with the film. The hotel owner comes across as the compassionate hero, though in Rwanda he is known more as an opportunist who threw guests back into the genocide once they were no longer able to pay his exorbitant rates.

Do see Kinyarwanda. It tackles the complexities of the conflict head on, especially asking how do you rebuild after such a disaster, and how one can forgive the unforgivable?

I left the theater feeling humbled, thankful, and moved to tears. Do yourself a favor and see it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2012
Director Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda, reminds us of a very dark and grim period in modern world history. In 1994, for one hundred days, roughly 1,000,000 people were murdered as a result of genocidal tactics in Rwanda. Hutu extremists targeted Tutsi "cockroaches" and anyone sympathetic to Tutsis through violent bloodshed and hate talk radio. Noticeably, there were Hutus married to Tutsis, Hutu relatives of Hutu-Tutsi children, and religious groups (Christians and Muslims), that were considered as sympathetic to Tutsis. Hutu gangs used machine guns and machetes to maim and rape with no apparent end in sight.

Places of worship such as mosques became havens for protection, even if briefly. Hotel Rwanda, a famous place of refuge, was referred to in Kinyarwanda. Why all the slaughtering in the first place? Towards the end of the film, it is explained that when Rwanda was under Belgian colonial rule, Belgian authorities would measure the head size, rib cage length and other physical attributes of Rwandans for division of labor. Depending on your measurement, your task may be indoors (i.e., working in government, schools, etc.), or outdoors (i.e., farming, field work, etc.). This type of caste system fostered discord and resentment amongst the Rwandans. W hen the Belgians left and no longer ruled the Rwandan government, the animosity and malice of the natives were deeply rooted. How did the slaughtering finally end? Kinyarwanda shows the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a battalion of Tutsi rebels, rescuing the day.

While the civil war persisted, Kinyarwanda depicts romance, love, forgiveness, betrayal and fear in six different subplots to constitute one overarching storyline. From a Catholic priest selling out his flock to Hutu gangs to preserve his own life, to an ex-Hutu gang member committing suicide at the Unity & Reconciliation Reedukation Camp after admission of killing a baby, Kinyarwanda shows how the Rwandans healed and rebuilt their nation. Although there were some deficiencies in both the acting and interweaving of the subplots, Alrick Brown's directorial debut was an admirable effort. The film has English subtitles for several scenes so remain alert during the approximately 100 minutes of running time.

Kinyarwanda was nominated for three NAACP Image Awards and is the recipient of several film festival awards, including the 2011 World Cinema Audience Dramatic Award at Sundance. The DVD, released May 1, 2012, has special features such as a cast and crew commentary, The Making of Kinyarwanda, a Kinyarwanda Comes Home featurette, galleries, the shooting script, and a memoriam of AD Steve Ntasi.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2012
Sometimes, the differences between us are what ends up bring us together in the end. I love the intertwined stories. Director Alrick Brown and everyone did an amazing job! He's turned these sad horrendous true stories into very powerful messages. Kinyarwanda not only remind us of what should never happen, but it gives you hope. Life cannot go on, if you live with hate in your heart. Despite our mistakes, we need to forgive each other or history will repeat itself... No matter how different we all are, we need to respect and support each other, if we are to live as ONE human race.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
Kinyarwanda is a beautiful, uplifting experience. The film does not show the violence of the massacre. Instead, the director, Alrick Brown, weaves stories of kindness, forgiveness, love and faith in people to take care of each other. Be sure to see this film. You will recommend it to others. Because there is no violence, it is a wonderful film for young people to see.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The danger of making a non-documentary movie about a genocide, especially a very recent one, is reducing it to "entertainment." Thankfully, both "Kinyarwanda" and "Hotel Rwanda" -- both based in different ways on "true stories" -- avoid that danger. In the case of "Kinyarwanda," it does so by adopting some of the techniques of documentary and blending these with what might be called exemplary narrative. The narrative sections generate suspense, but the characters, by being identifiable though not very well known in terms of their consciousnesses, aren't so individualized that we worry about "fictionality." Instead, we can take them as reasonably like ourselves, as human beings caught in intolerable circumstances. The circumstances are the point, but tribute should be paid to the skill of the actors who register their predicaments and yet enable us to realize that the movie is not just "their" stories but could be anyone's story. Thus, especially Edouard Bamporiki as Emmanuel, Hadidja Zaninka as Jean, Kennedy Mpazimpaka as Father Pierre, and Mutsari Jean as the Mufti deserve mention.

The film has a clear point to make and that is about the power of speaking truth. There are scenes that suggest the horror of Rwanda in 1994, but the most documentary-like parts are from a Re-edukation camp in 2004, where actors representing some of the perpetrators of the genocide speak to their peers, and directly to the camera, telling what they have done, taking responsibility, and asking for forgiveness and for a wish to be re-established in the community as a good neighbor. This is, of course, what happened, and it worked, and it is powerful to see. The point about speaking out is powerfully made again and again. In a comic version of these serious matters, we see the daughter of an imam admitting to desecrating the Koran just as her father is about to punish his sons for it. The reaction of the parents -- and one wonders if they knew the truth all along but had to hear it admitted -- is wonderful. The girl is accepted, punishment is postponed -- perhaps indefinitely. And in what for me was perhaps the most powerful scene, a group of Muslim imams and their mufti sit in a circle and consult, without any evident urgency and while a bloodbath is proceeding, about their obligations to those who are threatened with violence. As the conversation goes on, the circle of those to whom these religious leaders admit a responsibility widens from "Tutsi Muslims" to practically everybody. And by the end, the Catholic priest Father Pierre and the imams are holding services as the militias close in . . .

The framing story is of a young couple from different groups seeking to affirm their love in marriage. They are in different kinds of danger, and they suffer loss, at different points in the movie. This is the loose narrative string on which the larger issues are hung. It ends well, for the movie is a celebration of what Rwanda has achieved, but the movie doesn't shirk from counting the costs. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I was recently browsing in the foreign movie section of my local library and fell upon this movie. I will admit upfront that I knew very little about the movie, ok nothing. But the DVD sleeve indicated this was a movie about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. I knew going in that this movie wan't going to "fun", but I was not prepared for what I would see.

"Kinyarwanda" (2011 release; 100 min.) brings the interwoven stories of 6 main characters, some of which are Tutsi (the minority tribe) and the others being Hutu (the majority tribe). It took me a little while to figure out who is who, but it is quite helpful that at times throughout the mvie you re-watch parts of previous scenes, but now from a different character's perspective. And did I tell you this movie ie tense? Seriously, this is not easy viewing. The movie is divided into "chapters", each with their own title. About half-way into the movie, we get to a chapter entitled "Guns and Cockroaches", which starts off with a 1 min. cartoon of a little boy playing soccer, and it is a very welcome interlude/break from the rest of the movie (it turns out the cartoon is in the imagination of a little boy). That chapter, by the way, is one of the most effective in the entire movie, as the little boy is not aware of the double-entendre of the word "cockroach" and inadvertantly causes all kinds of problems with it.

Please note that the DVD comes with a bunch of features (including a 'making of', an interview with writer-director Alrick Brown, etc.) but I have to be honest, I did not watch them. After watching "Kinyarwanda" I really wasn't in the mood for yet more. That said, "Kinyarwanda" is absolutely worth watching. Movies like this drive the point again that there is so much more out there than your standard commerical Hollywood fare. If you like a good foreign movie, even with one as difficult a topic as this one, "Kinyarwanda" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
I enjoyed this movie. The storyline really pieced together a good image of Rwanda and people involved in the genocide. I learned a lot from this movie and I would recommend this movie for anyone because the subject it deals with is one people should be educated on. The perspectives it displayed were all connected.
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on December 18, 2012
Kinyarwanda is a powerful, uplifting film about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It mostly depicts the efforts of the Moslem religious leaders to protect people during the massacre. But even more, it presents a view of the conflict and its aftermath from all sides. The film is broken into titled sections that first seem loosely related. But as the film progresses, it all falls together toward an uplifting and reconciliatory ending. It is well worth obtaining or seeing. Some subtitles are used when the characters speak in their native tongue, but throughout the film the main characters speak mostly in English. Violence was a big part of the genocide. Rather than graphically depict it, the film implies it will occur and cuts away. Nonetheless, as a viewer, you do get a good sense of the fear and sense of impending those being targeted felt. Finally, in the aftermath, you also get a good sense of the regret and shame felt by those perpetrating the massacre.
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