Film Analysis Paper: Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Part 1: Select a film that deals with a topic from contemporary history (roughly the period from 1900-2008). It should be a narrative/feature film. Please do not select a documentary. The film can be recent (made within the last ten years) or something older (i.e. black & white). It can be American-made film or a foreign film. The only guideline is that it must primarily tell a story set in the past.
The Rwandan genocide between the Hutus and Tutsis was a particular event in history that has marked not only the nation it affected but the whole world as well. The world surely heard of such account but not everyone is able to understand what it is about and how the conflict arose. In the eyes of one man, who had the chance to seek assistance from those who have power to change the situation of his people, the film Hotel Rwanda tries to create a scenario that does not only capture the attention of the viewers but also bring them into a particular thinking of what side they are going to take in relation to who was responsible for the genocide of millions of innocent people in Rwanda.
The overall context of the movie was to present a realistic view of what happened in history and how that particular history has changed the world’s views about human rights and the emergence of justice in the middle of social conflicts. The civil unrest between the Hutus and Tutsis was presented in the movie as somewhat more than just disturbing; it changed the whole lives of the people living in the country. Through utilizing a rather ordinary individual as the main character in the film, the directors and writers specifically wanted to make sure that the message of story would affect the viewers directly. Seemingly, the main character had no power at all besides the fact that he is a hotelier and he was able to mingle with important personalities once in a while.
As the story progresses, the concept of development that the movie takes into account is the condition by which the American and world politics operated through the distinct social unrest in Rwanda. The United Nations, being one of the largest entities that might have had something to contribute to the ending of the unrest, was presented as somewhat not able to contend the situation. Amidst their power and authority, the connections that major countries [that are members of the United Nations] have with the perpetrators of the civil unrest made it hard for them to make a decision, all the more make a move to support the lives of the innocent one’s in the country. It was as if everyone knew, and yet not anyone wanted to take responsibility. Being an American film, the movie tries to be as objective as possible when it comes to defining the history behind the details of the past that is being documented in the story plot. Taking information from historians and other evidences that prove the events in books from happening in Rwanda, the directors and writers were able to create an almost direct-to-life presentation of what has happened in Rwanda and its people during the civil unrest in the country.
Part 2: View the film at least once making note of how the director conveys the tone of the event. For instance, how can you tell that the story takes place in the past? What clues does the director use to show us that we are watching a movie that takes place in a different historical time period? What do you notice about the setting? Clothes worn by the actors? Do they have a different manner of speaking than we do? Use of a different kind of language or slang? Is the film based on a true story or event that actually took place?
Poverty was already a part of the Rwandan society; all it needed was a distinct political movement among the more aggressive members of the group to establish revolt against those who may be having specific control over the nations. With such aggression from the left wing, the people were left with no choice but to submit. The hotelier tried to save his family, to bring them into a better condition, but to do so, he needed to get through so much as the connection he thought he had with the powerful individuals in the society and even in the international scene has been proven worthless due to corruption and political agendas. The overall context of the movie, being part of history was shown through the changes of shots from the point of the better years in Rwanda towards the most tragic years that its people had to deal with. The way they talk and the way they dress were seen to have an implicative impact on what the movie is already showing especially on the part of determining the changes in society because of the emerging influence of the development of the conflict among Hutus and Tutsis.
Arnold, William (6 January 2005). An unforgettable Tale of Heroism and Hope. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Rechtshaffen, Michael (22 December 2004). "Hotel Rwanda". The Hollywood Reporter.
Ebert, Roger (22 December 2004). Hotel Rwanda. Chicago Sun-Times.
Lasalle, Mick (7 January 2005). Amid a massacre, an ordinary man stands tall to protect others. San Francisco Chronicle.
Puig, Claudia (21 December 2004). Haunting 'Hotel Rwanda'. USA Today.