Shake Hands With The Devil Roger Spottiswoode

Shake Hands With The Devil Roger Spottiswoode
Alternately heart-wrenching and infuriating, Roger Spottiswoode’s adaptation of Lieutenant Général Roméo Dallaire’s bestselling memoir levels the inherent melodrama within this devastating account of the UN’s role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, highlighting the humanity instead. One of the most telling moments of this edition arrives in a commentary track shared by Spottiswoode and Dallaire, where the director explains how strange it was to travel to Africa to make the film and have Rwandans embrace the production once they learned it was "the General’s film.” "I’m quite taken aback by that,” Dallaire responds, suggesting that he was certain his role as a UN officer was misconstrued. "I’m pleasantly surprised by, I think, information now being passed onto them about what happened.” Sent in by Canada as the Force Commander of UNAMIR, a peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Dallaire was to maintain a 1993 peace accord between the divided Hutus and Tutsis. In short order, Dallaire and his men got caught in a civil war that escalated into a full scale massacre of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathisers by extremist Hutu militias. The ultimate tale of blood red tape, Dallaire’s attempts to contain the brewing inhumanity were neutralised by UN superiors and other superpower nations, who avoided the disgusting mess via diplomatic facades. Estimates vary but close to one million men, women and children were slaughtered in their homes and on the streets by gunfire and machete-wielding brutes. Even though his stubborn refusal to abandon hope and fight for as long as possible saved thousands of refugees, Dallaire was completely traumatised by the experience, fending off requests to chronicle what he witnessed for years. Actor Roy Dupuis creates a vivid depiction of Dallaire, as a soldier equally bound to his duty and his conscience, who ends up as tormented as he once was resolute. In his unobtrusive style, Spottiswoode captures the beauty and horror of the African country’s landscape during this unimaginable situation, casting conflicted Rwandans in the roles of the Hutus and Tutsis of the time, but keeping our attention steadfastly on Dallaire. Rather than getting mired in the cold-blooded, bureaucratic bullshit that enabled the deaths of innocents, Shake Hands with the Devil is presented as the tale of a reluctant hero working beyond his means to battle an impossible evil and making a difference while the rest of the world turned away. Plus: photo gallery, trailers, "making of,” souvenir photo. (Seville)