Shake Hands with the Devil
February 1, 2005 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Congratulations to the winner of this year's Sundance World Cinema Documentary Audience Award - The story of the Canadian general who, under the auspices of the United Nations, could only watch helplessly as the Rwandan genocide occured.
posted by Caffine_Fiend (18 comments total)
I'm glad this is getting wide exposure. Hopefully, more people will see the film and come away with an accurate portrayal of Dallaire - the character loosely based on him in "Hotel Rwanda" is a bit of a hatchet job.
posted by stonerose at 8:16 AM on February 1, 2005

I saw this documentary. It is very moving, but there is a whiff of that "we can only truly feel the pain of an event if it is filtered through the eyes of a white man."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:21 AM on February 1, 2005

I watched it twice. I don't think I'd even been more sickend by a documentary than that one.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:21 AM on February 1, 2005

I saw another documentary about Dalliere and Rwanda, called The Last Just Man that was also pretty good (imo).
posted by stifford at 8:29 AM on February 1, 2005

the character loosely based on him in "Hotel Rwanda" is a bit of a hatchet job.

I haven't seen the documentary, but I thought that the Colonel Oliver character in "Hotel Rwanda" came across as sympathetic, if largely ineffective. However, it was reasonably clear that his character also served as a proxy to the West as a whole, which just stood by and shook its head as the slaughter unfolded.

Gripping film, btw.
posted by casu marzu at 8:36 AM on February 1, 2005

So this is the third time around? Hadn't Dellaire's experiences also been documented in the HBO film Ghosts of Rwanda? I have little interest in seeing this as it seems an unoriginal choice of subject matter.

Also, I'd like to raise my hand and say many great documentaries are made which aren't neccessarily about genocides, holocausts, and wars. These tend not to get the official props come award time.
posted by dydecker at 8:48 AM on February 1, 2005

"Auspices" must have been on some word of the day calendar today.
posted by jeffmik at 8:52 AM on February 1, 2005

dydecker: you mean documentaries like "The Corporation", which won the same prize last year? Just sayin'...
posted by pascal at 8:59 AM on February 1, 2005

jeffmik, I thought the same thing as it appeared in the 8:09 and 8:10am post. Very odd.
posted by shoepal at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2005

i attended the first five days of sundance this year and saw many of the world documentaries but unfortunately not 'shake hands with the devil'.

i would suggest staying away from the juried prize winner, 'the shape of the moon', which i found to be terrible. perhaps the juror's felt sympathy due to the tsunami?
posted by hendrixson at 9:14 AM on February 1, 2005

If anyone is interested in a very good book about Rwanda, I recommend A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali. (Apologies for a link to Amazon). There is a passing reference to Dallaire which is also unfortunately unflattering and un-fair. It's a deeply angry book, but a very good one. There is a lot of historical information for those (like me) who don't know much African history.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:22 AM on February 1, 2005

Two other devestating books on the Rwandan genocide:
Philip Gourevitch's We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families and Samatha Powers' A Problem From Hell, which covers the history of US responses to genocide, including Rwanda.

An odd aside -- I took over an apartment from Powers when she left for Bosnia. While she was away, someone stole her bike from the basement (along with my partner's beloved plum-colored Mongoose). When she returned after investigating some of the worst human behavior imaginable, she called and found out her bike was gone. I've often wondered what she made of that.
posted by Cassford at 10:03 AM on February 1, 2005

what is "caffine"?
posted by quonsar at 11:53 AM on February 1, 2005

The surprise winner of the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at the 1956 Mormon Tabernacle Film Festival was the French film Nuit et brouillard (Night and Fog) directed by Alain Resnais. Filmed in 1955, the work portrays the genocide committed in Nazi concentration camps some dozen years before, an event that was scarcely mentioned in the mainstream media of the time.

""It's fantastic and it's a great honour," Resnais told this reporter, one of three covering the fledgling film festival. "It's important in that this will help bring the film to more people, to help keep the [issue of] genocide alive and to keep it from happening again."

One highlight of the experience for the French director was the personal appearance of Robert Redford, a precotious 19-year-old who declared that he would one day "own this festival".

posted by spock at 11:58 AM on February 1, 2005

what is "caffine"?

Google is your friend, quonsar.
posted by spock at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2005

what is "caffine"?

It's a kind of transformation that preserves collinearity and ratios of distances between points. Except it's a little higher energy and more jittery than an affine transformation.

I'll now return to turning off women in person.
posted by weston at 12:24 PM on February 1, 2005

I'll bet you were just a monster at the Dictionary Game, eh weston?
posted by spock at 12:41 PM on February 1, 2005

Robert Redford introduced the screening of Shake Hands With The Devil
posted by raedyn at 1:16 PM on February 1, 2005

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