In 1994 Rwanda, Hutu tribesmen massacred a million Tutsi people; the world ignored it. In "Hotel Rwanda," we see how people can respond to bad events. Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle), a hotel manager, and Col. Oliver (Nolte), a U.N. peacekeeper, together saved hundreds of lives. Pearson wrote the screenplay after hearing, in Rwanda, the stories of survival.
A quietly skilled man, Rusesabagina knows how things work; by bribery, apologies, and deception, he gives 1,200 people refuge at his four-star Hotel Des Milles Collines in Kigali, by accident, as genocide erupts after decades of tension. Rwanda began as many African nations did, with European colonists creating countries that ignored tribal boundaries, pushing enemy tribes together. Under Belgians, Tutsis ruled Rwanda for years, killing Hutus. Now the reigning Hutus seek revenge. Col. Oliver's superiors ignore his request for help.
Trained in Belgium, Rusesabagina no longer thinks in tribal terms. Speaking multiple languages, discreet, he knows what's happening under his roof. His guests demand luxury, even in a tiny central African country; he sizes up situations, and runs his hotel smoothly. He tells Brussels' corporate headquarters of the danger, but they aren't concerned.
Now he must keep managing his faltering hotel in an economy and country that are disintegrating. Dressing up each day as if for business as usual, he trembles. A Hutu married to Tatiana, a Tutsi, (Okonedo), he's safe, but she's not, nor are their children; he worries for his family. For years, he's coaxed powerful people to enjoy Hotel Des Milles Collines' decorum; he acts now as if it still has it, thus demanding civil behavior. Even a mass murderer wants well-to-do people to see his manners. A murderous Hutu general, a longtime client, trusts Rusesabagina. Thus, lives are spared. Col. Oliver sees there's no peace to keep; ignoring orders, he helps save lives.
After years of creating goodwill, Rusesabagina calls in favors. Using bribery, he hides people, lies, uses blackmail. He tells a powerful general the world will soon know what happened; if he isn't there to testify for him, who can? As Rusesabagina rises to the challenge, and Cheadle and Nolte show us how two men worked in an impossible situation, we're riveted, sympathizing with them, and are moved.
Keir Pearson and Terry George
Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix
Htous, Tutsis, Rwanda, 1994, massacre, genocide, 1200 saved,
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Review: http://MRQEIn Rwanda in 1994, a million Tutsi tribe members died at the hands of Hutu tribesmen whil
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