Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Director: Terry George
Stars: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Xolani Mali
“Hero” is not a designation that comes to Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), the general manager of the Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda, easily. But when his fellow citizens came under attack in the midst of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, he took the one action that came naturally to him: he helped. For four months, as more than 800,000 people were murdered outside his gates, Rusesabagina saved the lives of more than 1,200 refugees, whom he provided with food and shelter.
In Terry George’s compelling film version of the event, he maintains Rusesabagina’s position as not so much a hero but a man at a crossroads—a man who has the opportunity to save others and takes that very chance, despite the opposition surrounding him. This everyman sensibility only added to the Oscar-nominated film’s appeal. And Rusesabagina himself admits that all of it is true. “That movie is actually more or less like a documentary, which was played by professionals,” he told BU Today, though he noted that, “sometimes what was happening could be more violent than what people see on the screen.”