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Sometimes in April

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Product Details

  • Actors: Idris Elba, Oris Ehuero, Debra Winger, Pamela Nomyete, Carole Karemera
  • Directors: Raoul Peck
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007R4SYU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,997 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sometimes in April" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making-of featurette
  • "100 Days of Genocide" timeline
  • A Rwandan Photo Essay

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(Drama) In April 1994, one of the most heinous genocides in world history began in the African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of 100 days, an estimated 800,000 people were killed in a terrifying purge by Hutu nationalists against their Tutsi countrymen. This harrowing HBO Films drama focuses on the almost indescribable human atrocities that took place a decade ago through the story of two Hutu brothers--one in the military, one a radio personality--whose relationship and private lives were forever changed in the midst of the genocide. Written and directed by Raoul Peck, (HBO Films' Lumumba) the movie is the first large-scale film about the 100 days of the 1994 Rwandan genocide to be shot in Rwanda, in the locations where the real-life events transpired.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
Photo gallery


A clear-eyed look at the Rwandan genocide is offered in Sometimes in April, a frank take on the 1994 slaughter that claimed upwards of 800,000 lives. Some overlap with Hotel Rwanda is inevitable, and this HBO feature does have similarities, but without the strong suspenseful storyline of Hotel. Its protagonist (the strong Idris Elba, from The Wire) pieces together the past tragedy from the perspective of a decade-later war-crimes tribunal, where his brother is on trial. It's hard to know which is less bearable--the depiction of atrocities, such as mass murder at a girls school, or the second-guessing of the international community, which largely stood by while the horror was unfolding. (Like Hotel Rwanda, this film zeroes in on the U.S. government's distinction that "acts of genocide" occurred in Rwanda rather than "genocide," a Joseph Heller-like absurdity.) The plain style of director Raoul Peck, shooting on location in Rwanda, works for the subject; his film Lumumba was also a direct, blunt account of a tragedy in Africa. The approach doesn't work as well in the U.S. scenes, which feature Debra Winger as a concerned official; these just look clumsy. But the subject itself remains worthy of close attention. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

It lets you see what hate can do!
Sometimes in April is an outstanding film that is sure to be in contention for honors as one of the best movies in 2005.
Russell Fanelli
Very informative about the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Russell Fanelli VINE VOICE on April 17, 2005
Format: DVD
HBO continues to make exceptional films that should be seen in theaters and Sometimes in April is no exception. Without sensationalizing the violence of the Hutus against the Tutsis in 1994, director/writer Raoul Peck nonetheless dramatizes the horror of the mass murder that took place in Rwanda.

One scene in particular illustrates the contrast of vicious Hutu army killers with the heroism of their victims. The Hutu army has stormed a Christian Preparatory School for girls and found a young black teacher with fifty or so of her students hiding in a large classroom space. The army officer demands that the Hutus among the girls step away from their classmates, not knowing that the girls have already decided to stay together and support each other. The officer becomes frustrated with the rejection of his order and opens fire with his men killing all but three of the young women.

Time and again cowardly, machete wielding Hutu thugs are confronted with the heroism of their victims. Hutu radio has characterized all Tutsis as "cockroaches" and exhorts all Hutus to completely eliminate them from society. In a little over three months over a million Tutsis and their Hutu supporters are brutally murdered.

How could the world, and in particular we in the United States, have watched with indifference? The answer seems to be that Rwanda is a poor, small country in the center of Africa with no strategic or commercial importance to anyone. Debra Winger plays the part of a key Washington official who tries to persuade the government to intervene, but with little or no support from anyone.

At the heart of Sometimes in April is the story of a captain in the Hutu army who has a Tutsi wife and three children.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on May 18, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Sometimes In April is a shocking portrayal of the lives of Rwandan survivors Augustine Muganza (excellently played by Idris Elba) and Sister Martine (talented Pamela Nomvete). While lacking the flair of Hotel Rwanda, `Sometimes' makes up for flash with brutal reality of the atrocities committed in 1994.

The movie bounces back and forth between the genocide in 1994 and 2004, when Augustine's brother Honore is on trial for his involvement with the genocide through his radio broadcasts on RTLM "Hutu Radio" show. Honore was a journalist who got caught up in the propaganda he spewed out over the airwaves, until the violence comes to his own family.

In 2004, Augustine is with Martine, and the movie goes backward in time from Honore's trial to document the horrors that both Augustine and Martine survived. This made for HBO movie is much more graphic than theater-released Hotel Rwanda, brutally shoving into your face the mass murder of innocent catholic schoolgirls, horrific testimony from a mother who was tortured and raped for days on end, and the callus indifference of the westernized world.

"It's just Rwandans killing Rwandans," says one official. "We have no oil, no dams, there is nothing in Rwanda for you," says Rwandan militia member, encouraging the US to stay out of the genocide. Equally as appalling as the mass murders are real-clips from Prudence Bushnell as she coldly described how the US classified Genocide, and all the political back-speak as the western nations tried to cover their impassiveness with words while one million human beings died.

Sometimes In April is a powerful, must-see movie, but not for the squeamish or feint of heart. It is brutal, and reminds us to "Never Forget".
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2005
Format: DVD
The gruesome tragedy of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 absolutely must become public knowledge if we are to maintain the watch for symptoms of similar acts in the present and the future. HOTEL RWANDA was a fine film that capitalized on the heroism of one man, and justly so, for his selfless vision that saved many lives. But as far as a film that relates the same story without the emphasis on one hero, SOMETIMES IN APRIL is for this reviewer more powerful: the genocide speaks more loudly because it focuses on the victims.

Writer/Director Raoul Peck has created a stunning impact with this film made for HBO. The details of the history of the rebellion of the Tutsis against the Hutus is clearly explained and made far more understandable than in previous efforts. Peck wisely utilizes the talents of Idris Elba and Carole Karemera as the husband and wife of mixed marriage and it is their story of survival and witness that makes this examination of Rwanda so intense. Oris Erhuero and Debra Winger among others feel completely committed to this story in the way they bring honesty and credibility to their roles.

Photographed on location, this film is at first a country beautiful to look at and then the beauty of the land filled with corpses is nearly unbearable. The contrast is typical of the way Raoul Peck has sculpted this important film. By Hollywood standards as well as by Public Information standards, this is a film that should be seen by everyone as not only a fine movie but also an important documentation of a tragedy that should have never been ignored. Grady Harp, April 05
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