100 Days | Chicago Reader

100 Days

Nick Hughes, a British documentary cameraman who lives in Kenya, worked in Rwanda throughout the 90s and witnessed the 1994 genocide that claimed some 800,000 lives. His first feature's loosely structured story, about a young couple torn apart in the holocaust, doesn't work very well, but because such events really happened, the film is dominated by a dreadful feeling of inevitability, from the moment a Hutu official exhorts his followers to “get rid of women and their baby rats.” Ugandan journalist Joachim Buwembo has called this “a sanitised version of what took place, for it is simply impossible to capture on camera the madness.” But by omitting much of the gore Hughes strengthens the film's images and sounds: a machete-wielding crowd seen at night through a window, the creaking of a bed as a priest rapes two women, etc, come to stand for the larger horror. Stunningly beautiful settings such as a lake below the priest's church make the marauding humans seem like blots on the landscape. 96 min.

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