Like in 2004's Hotel Rwanda, the bulk of Beyond the Gates is about the establishment of a safe zone within the homicidal abyss that the country so precipitously fell into. As Hutu militia roam the countryside -- drunk, mad with power, and waving bloody machetes like creatures from a nightmare -- and massacring any Tutsis they come across, the school becomes a haven for refugees, with the guns of the few blue-helmeted UN soldiers the only thing keeping the killers at bay. It is also about the lengths to which a number of good people will go to in order to save the lives of the innocent. John Hurt plays the school's resident priest, Father Christopher, with his customary blend of scratch-throated gravitas and self-deprecating wit. Hugh Dancy (somewhat flat here) co-stars as Joe Connor, a sort of Oxfam poster boy, the handsome and well-meaning European spending his gap year teaching in a third world school; like a more moral version of James McAvoy's doctor in The Last King of Scotland. Both are stunned into near-incomprehension by the butchery going on outside the gates, but act in extremely different ways. This is not a film that allows an audience the easy out of providing them a character who does the right thing and is rewarded for it.
Continue reading: Beyond The Gates Review
The producer of BBC Rwandan genocide drama SHOOTING DOGS has responded to criticisms the film traumatised survivors. David Belton was accused of insensitivity after 15 students who were extras in the film were overcome with grief during a mob chanting scene and had to be hospitalised. He insists every measure was taken to ensure Rwandan extras were looked after and treated with compassion. Belton says, "We had a doctor and two trauma counsellors with us and we administered to those students. "We had a carefully worked out plan to make sure that people would be protected from any scenes that were distressing. "On this particular incident, the system that we had put in place broke down." He also rejected the idea that Rwandans volunteering to be extras should have been checked for their involvement in the massacre before taking part in the film. Belton added, "There was never a question of vetting anybody, asking their ethnicity or anything else. "It would have been completely against Rwandan employment policy and practice. "My view was that whoever wanted to be part of this film could be part of it." An estimated 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by extremist Hutu militia groups in Rwanda between April and mid-July 1994. The film, starring John Hurt and Hugh Dancy has its premiere in Rwanda on 22 March (06).
THE CONSTANT GARDNER is leading the pack ahead of next month's (FEB06) British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards after picking up 10 nominations.
Rachel Weisz, who won the Best Supporting Actress In A Motion Picture Golden Globe on Monday (16JAN06), is nominated for Actress In A Leading Role for her performance in the adaptation of Graham Greene's novel, while Ralph Fiennes is up for Actor In A Leading Role and film-maker Fernando Meirelles is put forward for the David Lean Award For Achievement In Direction.
Hot on the heels of The Constant Gardner are gay cowboy heart-breaker Brokeback Mountain and politically charged CRASH, which have both receieved nine nominations for the 19 February awards ceremony.
Continue reading: The Constant Gardner Leads Baftas Nominations