Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire (2004)

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The story of Canadian Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, and his controversial command of the United Nations mission to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.



(book) (as Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire)
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Credited cast:
Himself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage) (as Hillary Rodham Clinton)
Roméo Dallaire ...
Himself (as Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire)
Paul Kagame ...
Himself - President of Rwanda
Himself - During Trial (archive footage)


The story of Canadian Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, and his controversial command of the United Nations mission to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

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January 2005 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Robert Redford personally came to the film's opening at the Sundance Film Festival and introduced the film. At the end he said that this documentary is the type of film he created Sundance for in the first place. Source: See more »


Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.30 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Informative in some ways, disappointing in others
20 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As someone who has studied the Rwandan civil war and genocide in depth, I would recommend this documentary for providing some important background that is not readily available elsewhere in the film and literature about the genocide. The events of 1993 and early 1994 immediately leading up to the outbreak of killing, are often not presented well. Here we see General Dallaire's return visits to UN installations and places where he tried to carry out his initial mission to implement the Arusha Peace Accords of '93, important pieces of the puzzle. This alone makes the film worth seeing for anyone interested in how the genocide came to happen. There is also a visit to the memorial at Bisesero, an important but lesser known locale during the genocide where Tutsi were able to resist for a long time. While the "Ghosts of Rwanda" Frontline film remains the definitive documentary about the genocide, this movie adds some valuable details.

However, the film also uncomfortably at times seemed like a promotional project or hagiography for Dallaire and his friends and colleagues rather than a truly thoughtful documentary examination of one embattled and psychically wounded commander's experiences in trying to uphold an impossible mission. Part of the "problem" is that Dallaire is clearly a determined personality (and was in 1994) and speaks pretty eloquently for himself, but we also need to "see" more cinematically and not just hear people reciting how wronged he was. We needed less talking heads and more on-the-ground footage. (Although the 1994 footage is horrific enough) The film does not exactly take a dispassionate editorial tone... it's savagely condemning of both the UN and the Belgians in particular. (Warning, don't watch this movie if you're Belgian.)

Clearly, Dallaire was a fall guy for massive UN incompetence and immoral world indifference, who deserves to have his story told. I just think it could have been told much better in documentary form.

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