In April 1994, after the airplane of the Hutu President of Rwanda is shot down, the Hutu militias slaughter the Tutsi population. In the Ecole Technique Officielle, the Catholic Priest Christopher (Sir John Hurt) and the idealistic English teacher Joe Connor (Hugh Dancy) lodge two thousand five hundred Rwandans refugees, under the protection of the Belgian U.N. force, and under siege by Hutu militia. When the Tutsi refugees are abandoned by the U.N., they are murdered by the extremist militia.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The characters are fictional, but the events are not. Parts of this movie were shot at Ecole Technique Officielle (E.T.O.), a high school in Kigali, where the actual events took place. The title of this movie comes from the fact that U.N. peacekeepers used to shoot local dogs that fed on the decomposing bodies of the genocide victims. See more »
Throughout the movie, the Belgian Captain wears the insignia of a Sergeant (three white lines). See more »
I'll see to that after Mass.
I'm a priest in a Catholic country, Joe. This is what I do.
Yeah, sure. But do you think it is the best time for that?
In times of stress, people need to commune with God.
I think maybe they'd prefer some food, water, a spot of reassurance.
Well, come to Mass-get all three on the same ticket.
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Before the credits we are shown photographs of Rwanda genocide survivors who served as on set crew members. Next to each picture is text stating how many loved ones they lost. See more »
A "clean language version" of the film was released on DVD in 2007. See more »
I watch upwards of 300 movies a year and use IMDb like a fiend, but only this movie has ever compelled me to register and comment. "Shooting Dogs" is a BBC Films/UK Film Council film about the genocide in Rwanda that was ignored whilst the international community pontificated about the language used to describe what was going on (i.e. "Acts of genocide" vs "genocide"). The film focuses on the desperate plight of 2500 Tutsis seeking shelter in a school-cum-UN military compound. It goes some way to explain the history of the situation and the events surrcounding the genocide.
What makes this movie special is that a number of the production crew are survivors of the Rwandan crisis, and are telling their own stories. As macho as i would love to sound, i had tears in my eyes and felt the pain, hopelessness and indignation - and those are things that no director can claim to have brought to life for me in anything i've watched until now (the closest was probably the magnificent "Mysterious Skin"). Nothing is held back, and not should it be. The horror here is not graphic close-ups, but the shocking disregard for life that leads to the slaughter of newborn babies with machetes, the abject impotence of the UN and how tribal loyalties can turn the closest of friends into murderers.
For those who have lived in Africa (as i have), what is portrayed here is all too real. Like is said by one BBC reporter in the movie, in the Balkans the people were white and they could have been your own mother, but in Rwanda its worse than numbness - its just another dead African. Ignore your preconceptions, assumptions and instant reaction to skip to the next title because its not familiar, it wasn't in the cinema and Hotel Rwanda didn't appeal to you much. The impact this movie had on me was that profound, and i'd urge anyone to watch it to understand what happened there.
And when the credits come up and you've had time to think it over and resolve that it should never happen again, i'd say one word to you: Darfur. It just happened again only recently.
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