Exploring Realism in Hotel Rwanda and United 93

Categories: FilmHotel Rwanda

Authenticity and realism are crucial elements in portraying historical events on the silver screen. This essay delves into the cinematic techniques employed by directors Terry George in "Hotel Rwanda" and Paul Greengrass in "United 93" to achieve verisimilitude in their depictions of significant historical tragedies.

The Cinematic Lens: Paul's Perspective in Hotel Rwanda

In Terry George's "Hotel Rwanda," the narrative unfolds against the harrowing backdrop of the 1994 Rwandan genocides, focusing on the experiences of Paul Rusesabagina. Unlike traditional historical dramas, George employs a unique perspective, maintaining an unwavering focus on Paul's situation, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in his personal struggles.

This cinematic choice intensifies the emotions of unpredictability, suspense, and uncertainty, effectively recreating the harsh realities faced by the Rwandan people during those tumultuous times.

The use of diegetic sound, such as the constant background gunfire, further reinforces the gravity of the situation, intruding into even the most serene scenes. For instance, when Paul and his wife share a moment on the hotel roof, the distant sounds of gunfire serve as a stark reminder of the pervasive danger.

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This continuous intrusion immerses the audience in the atmosphere, fostering a constant sense of fear and paranoia.

Moreover, the film's unique perspective allows for a more profound exploration of Paul's character and the complexities of his role as a hotel manager turned reluctant savior. Through the lens of Paul's experience, the audience witnesses the moral dilemmas, ethical compromises, and personal sacrifices made in the face of unimaginable brutality. This in-depth character exploration adds a layer of emotional depth to the narrative, compelling viewers to empathize with the human toll of the genocide.

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Broadcasted Realities: Media in Hotel Rwanda and United 93

Both films incorporate media elements to enhance their realism. In "Hotel Rwanda," actual footage of Interahamwe militias beating their victims is shown, mirroring the disturbing reality captured by news reporters during the genocide. The film confronts the indifference of the global community, exemplified by the quote, "People will watch the footage and say, 'Oh my god that's horrible,' and then they'll go back to eating their dinners." This stark portrayal highlights the tragic insignificance attributed to the Rwandan crisis.

Similarly, "United 93" utilizes broadcasted material, particularly during the 9/11 attacks. The inclusion of news coverage of the Twin Towers enhances the film's authenticity, evoking memories of the actual events and emphasizing the genuine nature of the narrative.

Expanding on the use of media, it's crucial to note how these films leverage real-world events and their portrayal in the media to evoke a sense of collective memory. By weaving actual news footage into the narrative, both directors tap into the shared consciousness of the audience, blurring the lines between fiction and reality. This interplay between fictional storytelling and real-world documentation enhances the films' impact, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Realism through Personnel: Actors vs. Real Individuals

While "Hotel Rwanda" features real Rwandan soldiers, adding a layer of authenticity to the film, "United 93" opts for professional actors to reenact the roles of those involved in the 9/11 attacks. The decision to use real individuals in "Hotel Rwanda" grounds the film in the harsh realities experienced by the people of Rwanda. On the other hand, the professional reenactment in "United 93" portrays the dedication and duty displayed by individuals amidst chaos, as exemplified by the military personnel continuing their tasks despite emotional turmoil.

Moreover, the inclusion of real people in "Hotel Rwanda" not only adds authenticity but also serves as a tribute to the resilience and courage of those who lived through the genocide. By featuring actual survivors and participants, the film becomes a testament to the human spirit's endurance in the face of unspeakable atrocities. This choice elevates the narrative beyond a mere cinematic representation, transforming it into a homage to the strength of the Rwandan people.

Comparative Techniques: George and Greengrass

Terry George and Paul Greengrass employ distinct yet effective techniques to achieve verisimilitude in their respective films. Greengrass stays faithful to the events, creating a narrative that closely mirrors the historical reality of 9/11. In contrast, George introduces additional elements for entertainment value in "Hotel Rwanda" but successfully captures the magnitude of the genocides, presenting Paul Rusesabagina's story credibly while maintaining historical accuracy.

In conclusion, "Hotel Rwanda" and "United 93" stand as powerful examples of how cinematic choices can shape the perception of historical events. The directors' use of unique perspectives, media integration, and personnel choices contribute to the overall realism of the films, allowing audiences to connect with the profound human experiences embedded in these tragic chapters of history.

Updated: Dec 15, 2023
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Exploring Realism in Hotel Rwanda and United 93. (2016, Jul 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/hotel-rwanda-and-united-93-analysis-of-film-techniques-essay

Exploring Realism in Hotel Rwanda and United 93 essay
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