- Title: FRANCE: Film exploring effect of the genocide on Rwandan youth debuts in Cannes
- Date: 30th May 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE)(Kinyarwanda) ACTOR JEFF RUTAGENGWA SAYING: "Most of the things we did in the movie are out of our lives. We were not just making a film, many of the things that we played happened to us and that helped us to perform it well."
- Embargoed: 14th June 2007 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: War / Fighting
- Reuters ID: LVADHBQVT2R915P278F4TQNELIP6
- Story Text: The first ever film made in the Kinyarwanda language, about the lives of Rwandan genocide orphans, debuts at the Cannes Film Festival.
A film starring Rwandan youths who were orphaned during the genocide has premiered at the Cannes film festival and is the first ever to be made in the Kinyarwanda language.
In his film 'Munyurangabo', Korean-American director Lee Isaac Chung, examines the Rwandan genocide and its effect on the country's youth.
The film follows a journey of two street kids from Kigali, one Hutu and one Tutsi and explores the feelings of a generation of children left scarred by the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 that left over 500,000, mainly Tutsi's, dead in 100 days.
The film particularly concentrates on feelings of revenge and reconciliation.
"There's a big push for reconciliation in the country from the government and many of the people. But there's still this feeling of buried hatred - a lot of times we encounter - resent for the things that have happened in the past," Chung said.
The film was made last summer when Chung went to Rwanda as a volunteer to teach a summer course in filmmaking. He made the film with a group of fifteen local street kids and at-risk youths from Kigali who became the cast and crew of the movie.
Chung spent eight weeks with the kids preparing the story, and then spent 11 days shooting the film.
Much of the story was drawn from the kids personal experiences. Jeff Rutagengwa, who plays lead character Munyurangabo, became a street kid in Kigali after his father went missing during the genocide.
"Most of the things we played in the movie are out of our lives. We were not just making a film, many of the things that we played happened to us and that helped us to perform it well," Rutagengwa said.
The film follows Munyurangabo and his friend Sangwa as they leave the city after stealing a machete from a Kigali market. Munyurangabo is seeking justice for the murder of his parents, who were slain in the genocide.
The two friends return to Sangwa's rural home he abandoned years ago. The two boys friendship is tested as Sangwa's Hutu parents warn their son that Hutus and Tutsis are supposed to be enemies.
"My character in the movie represents true love, he does not listen to people telling you to hate, he doesn't listen to the people that tell him to hate the other person. He shows a true love, a true friendship," said Eric Dorunkkundiye, who plays Sangwa in the film.
The film is being shown in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival and director Chung is also eligible for the CamÃ©ra d'Or award.
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