The British film “Hotel Rwanda” is one of the most emotional historical dramas of this millennium, which is not a big box office movie but still conveys deep authorial meaning. Released in 2004 by Terry George, Hotel Rwanda raises many of the most pressing topics for today’s social agenda, from the romantic relationship between a woman and a man to the effects of globalization and entrenched corruption in the country. This paper describes the key insights and themes that emerged from watching this film.
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Primarily, the overall plot of “Hotel Rwanda” should be briefly interpreted. The film describes the chronology of progress between two warring indigenous ethnic groups in the East African country of Rwanda. After the death of the local president, the Hutu people, whose key opposition was the Tutsi, were given temporary power over the state. Because of the conflict of political interests between the tribes and the unequal distribution of power, Rwanda’s population, which had formed friendly and kinship ties for decades, was radically divided into “good” and “bad.”
The Tutsis and the Hutus conflict became the basis for a bloody regime and brutal intra-state massacres. However, this problem mainly affected the key protagonist of the movie, Paul Rusesabagina, who is the head of a large hotel in the capital. Paul is a member of the Hutu tribe, but his wife is Tutsi. It seems like it could have been another Shakespeare story about people who cannot be together, but “Hotel Rwanda” has instead decided to be a topical sequel to Steven Spielberg’s legendary “Schindler’s List.”
In particular, instead of confronting the Tutsis and supporting his people, Rusesabagina decides to rescue victims from a tribe that is hostile to him, using his reputable businessman connections. The present film is a fictional vision based on actual events, as it is based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, who saved 1,268 disadvantaged Tutsis from the pressures of the political machine during the bloody period in Rwanda.
After watching the film, one of the main insights was the realization that “Hotel Rwanda” does not tell the specific story of the confrontation between the Hutu and the Tutsi in an East African country but generally covers the fundamental problem of civil conflict. In other words, the problem of the bloody political regime and human cruelty raised in the film has no national boundaries, but instead, it is familiar to everyone on the planet without exception.
It is probably for this reason that “Hotel Rwanda” is still relevant today, almost eighteen years after its publication because it reveals timeless themes that are familiar to everyone. Terry George conveys the idea that socio-political conflicts like Rwanda will still occur everywhere in the future, and that is why most people need to think about the importance of such values as humanity, love, compassion, and mercy.
One of the essential themes also emphasized in the film is the struggle for survival in the face of globalization. The leitmotif of “Hotel Rwanda” remains the philosophy that if someone needs something, it is their problem, whereas if someone wants to have something, the whole world is willing to share it. It becomes apparent that the modern world is devoid of social justice, which means that those who want to survive and live comfortably must move and adapt to achieve it. In this film, one realizes how small one person is on the scale of the great political machine of East African Rwanda and how uninteresting the major interethnic conflict of decades ago is for the major players in the global marketplace. Globalization in this film is not strictly positive or negative, but instead, Terry George shows its consequences and invites the viewer to determine for himself the limits and benefits of the rapprochement of peoples.
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However, this is not difficult to do since the film also tells the story of the inaction of the UN’s peacekeeping mission as the most critical integrative association of humanity. Put differently, under this theme, George emphasizes the fact that even though globalization is a positive phenomenon of rapprochement, the problems of a small country, even those that have taken the lives of millions from the local population, will not be of interest to significant powers unless there is an economic or political benefit in doing so: and thus local people must adapt in order to survive.
In addition, one of the unobvious insights of this picture is the theme of the responsibility of people who have achieved success for the well-being of others. As in “Schindler’s List,” in “Hotel Rwanda,” a successful individual saves thousands of oppressed refugees who “should” be his enemies because of their membership in opposing political camps. In today’s world, the idea that each person on the planet is only responsible for himself is obsessively entrenched.
The conditions of a rigid capitalist world lead to the realities of Darwinian natural selection in an artificial global economy: survival of the fittest. Capitalism is often an apparent contradiction to compassion and care for the underprivileged, and “Hotel Rwanda,” exemplified by the exceptional Paul Rusesabagina, only confirms this rule. Through his actions, Paul shows that he has not only power and money but also a desire to help the oppressed Tutsi, potentially sacrificing his goods. This is one call for attentive viewers to cultivate a sense of selfless concern for others and humanity in such a difficult time to build social well-being.
“Hotel Rwanda” is thus one of the essential films highlighting actual historical facts through the lens of fiction. The film has been shown to raise important themes of interethnic conflict, the struggle for survival, and the effects of globalization, affirming the idea that one must move in order to survive. Moreover, “Hotel Rwanda,” tells the story of the importance of human compassion and morality even through the sacrifice of acquired wealth, for, in the end, we all remain human.