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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.

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

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Cast

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

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January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apertando as Mãos do Diabo  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Followed by Fight Like Soldiers Die Like Children (2012) See more »

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Never fails to engage
8 September 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1994 General Dallaire was given command of a small peacekeeping operation from the UN in the central African country of Rwanda. When the Hutus started killing the Tutsis population the UN evacuated the westerners but essentially left the country to take care of itself – with only Dallaire's small and underfunded group of men left against a tidal wave of violence that left about 800,000 dead. As the west sat transfixed by the OJ trial, Dallaire struggled to get the word out and get the world to respond. Ten years later, he returns to Rwanda to remember.

Having been gutted by Hotel Rwanda I felt ashamed that I knew very little about the genocide and decided to watch this documentary to provide more insight than HR did. Although this film is more interested in Dallaire than in the actual genocides it still is educational, interesting and impacting. We follow Dallaire as he returns to the country and recollects the events of a decade ago, memories that are backed up with some sickening archive footage of bodies and murder. It doesn't really shock or emotionally involve that well in that regard though – compared to the narrative structure of HR this seems a bit distant, a fact not helped by the "looking back" delivery. However the film is still impacting because it focuses more on the west and the failure to act, with Dallaire lost in the middle of the chaos. The film does this well and it is very clear where the blame lies and how insincere the world was and still is – Clinton's visit and assurances that he didn't appreciate how bad things were at the time made me angry and frustrated.

As our eyes Dallaire is very interesting. He is long past tears so he doesn't move us by breaking down but by being honest and talking. The things he recalls seeing are horrific, although just as engaging is his own pain and suffering – his frustrations, his fears and his anger. I'm sure some viewers will not warm to him because he doesn't look emotional but his story makes up for it. The film gives him a bit of an easy ride in some regards, not pushing him when he says that he had no mandate etc, but even those who feel he is the figurehead for failure will acknowledge that he did stay when he could easily have left like everyone else.

Overall this is a hard film to judge because the subject matter means it easily engages and is moving. Some viewers may find it a bit cold compared to the emotional ride of Hotel Rwanda but it is no less for it, in fact it makes for a more detailed and open presentation that is consistently interesting and moving.


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