Cinema - Shooting Dogs

In April 1994 during peace negotiations after a civil war between Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda, the country’s president, a Hutu, was killed in an aeroplane crash. This event finally made a pot boil over which had been simmering for centuries – the result was the most terrible genocide since the Holocaust, in which up to a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered in the space of three months. The UN’s reaction to the massacre has been severely criticised since: instead of trying to stop the bloodshed, the blue helmets were ordered to evacuate the area, leaving the civilian victims to their fate. This despite the fact that the world – through news bulletins - was well aware of the situation.

Shooting Dogs is a fictionalised version of real events that took place in the Ecole Technique Officielle in Kigali in the first month of the genocide. It is filmed on location, and many of the film crew and actors are survivors of the massacre, which gives it a harder-edged feel than Hotel Rwanda, which was filmed in South Africa, using South African actors. It stars John Hurt as a Catholic priest at the school, and Hugh Dancy as an idealistic young English teacher: both decide to stay when the UN pull out of the school, which has become a shelter for refugees, who are left to await their certain death. Director Michael Caton-Jones directs with some style, though we are left wondering why he makes us see Africa’s bloodiest episode predominantly through European eyes. DL

Shooting Dogs sees the Rwanda massacre through white
protagonists’ eyes

Gardner Arts Centre
When? 8pm
How Much? Tickets: £5/ £4

Gardner Arts Centre
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