A&E » Film

Notes from the back row

Man’s inhumanity and humanity



One good thing about the weeks following the Academy Awards, is we generally get a second chance to check out good movies we may have missed the first time around. Such is the case this week with Hotel Rwanda and Kinsey, both playing this week at the Village 8 cinemas.

Hard hitting and emotionally tense, Hotel Rwanda recounts the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, who saved over 1,200 lives during a 100-day civil war in 1994. The film focuses on Paul, played by Don Cheadle, the manager of the finest hotel in Rwanda’s capital. A pillar of the community, Paul is a crafty player who knows how to dance the fine line and keep everyone happy, both generals and black marketeers alike. But one day the bloodshed begins when a group of Hutu fanatics start murdering Tutsis, whom they dislike enough to call "cockroaches." As the genocide escalates Paul is able to shelter his Tutsi wife and family along with some neighbours by bribing the Hutus with cigars, wine and whiskey. Eventually those stocks are depleted and, with more Tutsis arriving in need of help and no assistance at all from the Western nations or Europe, Paul takes the role of one good man fighting a mass of inescapable evil.

Hotel Rwanda should open a few people’s eyes to the fact that just because we don’t really know the difference between Hutus and Tutsis and have no financial interests in these Third World countries, we can’t simply ignore a massacre of this magnitude. (Almost a million people were murdered.)

As an uplifting drama about the human spirit and its ability to deal with horrible circumstances, Hotel Rwanda is a huge success. But the problem with taking a Hollywood approach to the film, focusing on one man’s struggle and downplaying the real gore, is it avoids focusing on the problem of genocide at large. By hammering home the emotional hope and perseverance messages director Terry George makes a drama out of what should probably have been a horror movie. Deeply sad, well-made and with incredible acting, Hotel Rwanda is one of last year’s must-see films. Check it out.

Speaking of genocide, when is someone going to do something about Sandra Bullock? Why is she still making movies? Didn’t she already retire? She did, and yet for some reason she’s back wasting our time with Miss Congeniality 2 which opens sometime next week. If you are the type of person who wants to watch this drivel, please, don’t even speak to me when you see me.

But enough about that, let’s talk about sex. Or more on topic, lets talk about a movie about a guy who spent his life talking about sex. Kinsey is a biopic about Alfred Kinsey, a scientist from the ’40s and ’50s whose approach to what we do behind closed doors turned society on its head. By interviewing thousands of people and compiling data he discovered that there is no sexual norm, no deviant behaviour, just a world of infinite variety and diversity. Using scientific methods, devoid of any moral or religious standards, Kinsey purposed that we’re all sexually normal, because we’re all twisted in different ways. You can imagine how this went over in the 1950s, and Kinsey documents these hard years in the man’s life as well as his glory days. A standard movie biopic, Kinsey is a bit generic in structure and feel but the subject matter is compelling and it’s interesting to see that, 50 years later, society hasn’t changed that much. People are still scared shitless of what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

AT VILLAGE 8 March 18-24: Kinsey; Hotel Rwanda; Ring 2; Miss Congeniality 2; Million Dollar Baby; Hostage; Be Cool; Sideways; Hitch; Robots.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE March 18-24: Constantine.

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