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Parents' Guide to

Beyond the Gates

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Another devastating look at Rwandan genocide.

Movie R 2007 115 minutes
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Beyond the Gates is peppered with devastating moments. Christopher's discovery of slaughtered French nuns, Joe's witnessing of killings by people he once considered "friends," Marie's father's request that the UN soldiers shoot the black Rwandans at the school rather than leave them to be murdered by machetes. Still, one of the movie's most provocative scenes involves BBC reporter Rachel (Nicola Walker), who articulates -- and suffers from -- her own racism. Remembering her empathy for victims of the Bosnian genocide the year before, she confesses, "Over here, they're just dead Africans." She pauses, then adds, "What a thing to say. We're all just selfish pieces of work in the end."

Beyond the Gates doesn't consider intersections between the Hutus' monstrous violence and resentment of European colonialism, imperialism, or capitalism. But it does suggest that Joe's ignorance and sense of privilege -- however honorable his intentions -- make a dangerous combination.

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