Opening 7 Apr 2005
Writing credits: Keir Pearson, Terry George
Principal actors: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Desmond Dube
In the mid-1990s, Rwanda is on the brink of upheaval. The conflicts over power between two tribes, the Hutus and the Tutsis, had been brewing for decades. In 1994, the president of Rwanda is killed in a plane crash upon returning from a business trip. The party responsible for his murder takes charge and enters into a pledge to massacre their own people who do not join the ranks of the party line.
A five-star hotel is located in the middle of the area where most of the conflicts have festered over the decades. It is the Milli Collines Hotel run by a Belgian Rwandan, Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle). He is has a rapport with a wide variety of people and everyone trusts him.
Hotel Rwanda is the true story of Paul and this hotel which becomes a safe haven during this horrific crisis. The audience is drawn into the film, observing the business dealings of Paul as he maintains his level of integrity with his web of connections to keep his hotel running. As the crisis festers he tries to alert his European bosses that the trouble is all around them and it is intensely brewing. For the first time, Paul is nervous. He realizes that help is not on its way as promised and is frightened to think that the protection might never come. Due to his incredible influence among the Hutu and Tutsi peoples, Paul is emotionally impacted knowing that the UN troops, his own family, as well as his fellow friends and colleagues, are all affected by the choices he makes to keep the hotel in working order. In a world where bribes affect life and death, Paul uses his wisdom and his gut instincts to save as many people as he can during these incredibly dangerous days, before it is too late. But, he is very aware that every form of communication that Paul pursues has ramifications. Those ramifications are also the risks that make this true account chilling. (Karen Pecota)