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What's the story?
HOTEL RWANDA reveals the story of Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), manager at a luxury hotel and the man who always knows what it took to get things done and survive in an explosive political situation. Two ethnic groups, the nomadic Tutsis (also known as Watutsis) and the agricultural Hutus had been pitted against each other by the white Belgian settlers, who literally measured skin tone and nose width to elevate the Tutsis to preferred positions. When the conflict exploded into violence in 1994, the Hutus began a full-scale slaughter of over 800,000 Tutsis and any Hutus who supported them. Amidst this madness, Rusesabagina hid more than 1000 Tutsis in his hotel. Using the same skills that made him successful as a hotel manager, he cajoles, barters, and bluffs his way into keeping them safe, and keeps hoping for help from the UN or the US.
Is it any good?
Cheadle is infinitely moving as Rusesabagina and Sophie Okonedo is quietly magnificent as his wife. The sensitivity of their performances is matched by the script and direction, which make their points, both personal and political, with grace, not bitterness.
Like Schindler's List, this film takes us deeply into the horror of one of the 20th century's greatest tragedies by allowing us to focus on the illumination cast by one small story of grace, courage, and humanity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about about the slaughter in Rwanda and how the role of the UN and other nations is determined. Families could also talk about the way that an ordinary man became capable of extraordinary courage. How do we know what we would do? How do we make sure we do the right thing?
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