Friendsofmurphylibrary's Blog

Rwandan film is “a masterpiece”

Posted on: September 21, 2009

In Rwanda, life goes on but those who were lost in the recent genocide have not been forgotten. Ngabo, whose full name, Munyurangabo, means warrior, lost both his parents in the civil war. One day he steals a machete from a busy marketplace and sets off with his friend Sangwa on a journey of remembrance and revenge.

 The Murphy Library is showing Film Movement’s “Munyurangabo” Thursday at 6 p.m. Film critic Roger Ebert called it “One of those miracles that can illuminate the cinema… it is in every frame a beautiful and powerful film — a masterpiece.” Ebert’s words are even more meaningful when you realize this is a first feature, filmed in 11 days, with a cast of poor refugees. Running time is 97 minutes. Shown in the Kinyarwanda language with subtitles in English. The boys are best friends and had lived together in Kingali, but when they arrive at Sangwa’s home, it becomes clear there are differences in their lives. Sangwa is Hutu and Ngabo is Tutsi, and as Sangwa’s father tell him, they are supposed to be enemies. Meanwhile Sangwa starts to make peace with the family responsibilities he had left behind, and even sees a future for himself in his old village. But Ngabo still has revenge on his mind.

Director Lee Isaac Chung is the son of Korean immigrants. He grew up on a farm in Kansas and went to Yale as a science major until he discovered filmmaking in his senior year. He visited Rwanda with his partners Samuel Anderson and Jenny Lund in the summer of 2006 to teach a course in filmmaking at a Christian relief camp. “Munyurandgabo” was the result. Call 837-2417 for details.

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