UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal

A Premier Humanities Research Journal at the University of California, Berkeley

I (Can’t) See How it Hurts: Applying a Postmodern Reading to Filmic Representations of Suffering in the Rwandan Genocide

Gregory Loh

Abstract:                                                                                  Download PDF

This paper investigates the filmic representations of emotional and physical suffering in Rwandan Genocide films with a postmodern perspective. In the light of a postmodern reading, I analyse two dramatic feature films, Hotel Rwanda and Munyurangabo, and I show how each representation of suffering present equally enriching sites of struggle for an audience grappling with the Rwandan genocide. I assert that by acknowledging that all representation is problematic, we can appreciate every representation’s ‘truth’ with an appropriate emotional weight. In so doing, we glean a new kind of ‘truth’ and acquire a ‘deeper’ reach into the recesses of a reality.

LET JUSTICE LIBERATE

LET TRUTH REPLACE LIES IN RWANDA

SITTING TOGETHER ON THE GRASS WITHOUT DIVISION OR HATE

WITHOUT LYING TO EACH OTHER

FROM ‘LIBERATION IS A JOURNEY’ BY EDOUARD B. UWAYO

Filmic representations of suffering presented through a dramatic feature film suffer from two inevitable predicaments. Firstly, a filmic representation is impeded from showing Truth due to its interpretive nature. According to Hayden White, even the writing of history cannot escape from an interpretive bias since

[a] historical narrative is… necessarily a mixture of adequately and inadequately explained events, a congeries of established and inferred facts, at once a representation that is an interpretation and an interpretation that passes for an explanation of the whole process mirrored in the narrative. (White, 51. Emphasis mine)

The dramatic feature film, which attempts to represent a time in history, grapples with a similar conflation of representation and interpretation. A film-maker becomes ‘historian’ as “s/he transforms the fragmented and decontextualised events that we regard as ‘facts’ of history into a meaningful narrative form.” (Chopra-Gant, 8) This is achieved through the mode of a story. A story’s conveyance is contingent on its focaliser, who is usually the film’s protagonist. As the film progresses, an audience infers narrative meaning through the focaliser’s circumstances. Moreover, because of “pressures to render a compelling dramatic narrative, filmmakers routinely compress events into a shorter time span than that on which they really occurred, condense numerous real persons into invented composite characters designed to function as metaphors for larger themes relevant to the times and/or events depicted, and exaggerate aspects of costumes and sets in order to achieve a greater dramatic impact on the cinema screen.” (Chopra-Gant, 100) Hence, the ‘telling’ of the story is problematic – How much screen time should there be on an act of violence? Which characters should display grief and how should the grief be captured? Should there be moral resolutions in the aftermath of a particular scene of suffering if the context in which that event of suffering is in is tragically unresolved? In answering these questions through a filmic narration, the film cannot be divorced from both the film-maker’s applied subjectivity and by extension, the subjectivity of how a story is being internally navigated through a focaliser’s eyes. Accordingly, in both Hotel Rwanda and Munyurangabo, suffering is interpreted and viscerally appreciated by an audience within each film’s context. To process an emotional response towards a particular representation of suffering, an audience is inextricably tied to the film’s internal cultural logic, which might not be a universally recognised one. Thus, for suffering to register in an audience, it has to be mediated through the subjectivity of filmmaker and focaliser.

Secondly, suffering is primarily a private, internal and subjective experience. Susan Sontag explains this by depicting the dynamics behind looking at the photograph ‘Dead Troops Talk’ created by Jeff Wall.

‘We’ – this ‘we’ is everyone who has never experienced anything like what they went through – don’t understand. We don’t get it. We truly can’t imagine how dreadful, how terrifying… how normal it becomes. Can’t understand, can’t imagine. (113, emphasis mine)

The act of looking at a photograph or film depicting suffering is an inescapably detached act. We see this playing out in Hotel Rwanda when Paul commends the British reporter, Dalglish for giving the genocide victims a voice through film. Dalglish responds “I think if people see this footage, they’ll say, ‘Oh my God that’s horrible!’ And then go on eating their dinners.” While a part of the force in those lines is a just attack on the passivity of the international community to Rwandan’s plight, the lines also reveal a fundamental disconnection between humans from two distinct cultural ghettos. A non-victim cannot fully enter into the existential plight of the genocide victim and will always remain at a distance. This disjunction is not only because of being physically far away from the event due to systemic reasons of international dynamics. As Sontag asserts, “watching up close – without the mediation of an image – is still just watching” (105, Sontag). The most a non-victim’s presence in the event will add to his understanding is a richer visceral intensity to his feelings. Hence, the distance between a victim and non-victim is not just a metaphorical distance, but also an epistemological one. The inability to see is derived from a lack of capacity to know.

Moreover, this disconnection does not operate on just a binary level. The dichotomy between Rwandan genocide victims and non-victims is superficial in light of the complex web of stakeholders or observers that are involved in this historical event alone, each with their own set of cultural categories and circumstantial perspectives. Sontag suggests that such diversity complicates the representation of suffering as “[t]he photographer’s intentions do not determine the meaning of the photograph, which will have its own career, blown by the whims and loyalties of the diverse communities that have use of it.” (Sontag, 35) Likewise, a film is subject to “whims and loyalties” of “diverse communities”. Essentially, filmic representations of suffering are not only implicated by filmmaker and focaliser subjectivity, but also by the subjectivity of each individual that watches the suffering.

Hence, we arrive at a very pessimistic interim conclusion about representing suffering – ‘Dead Troops Speak’ is an ironic title because the images cannot speak connectively to any individual. No voice is given to the genocide victims because no one can hear them. ‘We’ carry on with our “dinners” in spite of shame, guilt or any other emotional weight not because the voices are not loud enough, but because they are voices we cannot understand, voices that are unable to penetrate us meaningfully enough.

I argue that this inevitable predicament of disconnection can be appropriately grappled with by applying a postmodern reading to ideas of suffering in the
Rwandan genocide. At one level, being postmodern in the light of genocide can appear thoughtless because the moral relativism of a postmodernist might
disparage the rightful justice of a genocide victim. However, such a conclusion about postmodernism neglects how

[it] recognize[s] that modern theories, which are typically Eurocentric and androcentric, tend to be totalizing, dualistic (i.e., either-or systems), and
ultimately dehumanizing—especially to people of lower socioeconomic status and in more impoverished countries… (White and Wang, 392)

Accordingly, the disposition of the postmodernist is not apathy but humility. In refusing to impose a “totalizing” interpretation on a situation,
postmodernism dismantles Truth into “‘little narratives'(petit récits), those which do not attempt to present an overarching truth but offer a qualified,
limited truth, relative to a particular situation.” (Nicol, 567) A postmodernist would consider that there are multiple unheard ‘truths’ because of the
multiple subjectivities that are omitted from a filmic representation. Hence, we lift the burden off filmic representations to capture the whole Truth.
Instead of taking a filmic representation to be the bearer of complete epistemic insight, we retain the ontological value of the insight by taking it as a
bearer of ‘truth.’ In so doing, we acknowledge that there is no need to construct a ‘better’ representation of suffering. Instead of problematising
incomplete representations, we can appreciate a representation of suffering with appropriate emotional weight. I will do this by examining the films Hotel
Rwanda and Munyurangabo.

True to its Hollywood blockbuster quality, Hotel Rwanda negotiates the Rwandan genocide’s suffering through a west-centric lens, a vantage point of a “liberal humanist subject (white, male, heterosexual and rational)” (Bertens, 8). Accordingly, the film consolidates suffering in the Rwandan genocide into an uncomplicated, action-packed and fast moving plot that is navigated by a heroic protagonist. Within this context, the film is a site of west-centric predicaments, containing notions such as feeling helpless to make a difference to Rwandan pain and trusting in a hero to save the day. This set-up serves to facilitate western engagement with Rwandan suffering. On the other hand, Munyurangabo shows the suffering of Rwandans who have to live with the memory of the Rwandan genocide. The film accesses Rwandan suffering on relational level, interrogating the visceral nuances that surface in the relationship between a Hutu and a Tutsi.

Moving on, I shall demonstrate how both films function as partial ‘truths’ of the Rwandan genocide by unpacking how they present two distinct versions of suffering in the Rwandan genocide.

What We See

The cinematography of both films is very different as both film-makers have chosen to represent ‘Rwanda’ in contrasting ways. Hotel Rwanda represents ‘Rwanda’ as easily understood, with the genocide and lack of response to it as the only anomaly in an otherwise picture-perfect reality. In contrast, Munyurangabo presents ‘Rwanda’ as inaccessible, ambiguous and unstable, with inconsistencies that might not always be traced back to the genocide.

Hotel Rwanda achieves its effect by use of “hard” lighting, rich Technicolor and a slow film stock, rendering the film to be sharper, richer and more defined. Such results in a fine grain image that reduces an audience’s consciousness to the fact that they are watching a film. This is reinforced by the use of continuity editing, which maintains the visual coherence of the film as the narrative progresses. For example, whenever the hotel’s van travels out of the hotel and before it reaches another location, an establishing shot is always employed to indicate its location. In a similar vein, reverse shots, eye line matches and match-on-action shots are consistently applied to camouflage film editing and create the impression of spatial and temporal continuity. (screencap 1a & 1b)

This results in a smooth flow from shot to shot, ensuring a continuous and undisrupted story. Hence, the audience accesses the film easily and is cinematically encouraged to lose themselves in the story.

On the other hand, Munyurangabo uses “soft” lighting, unsaturated colour and a fast film stock. This results in grainy images that are gritty and much less defined. Although this draws attention to the constructed nature of the film, it heightens the audience’s sensitivity to Rwanda itself by imbuing the film with a documentary quality. A different kind of realism is crafted here, one not designed through continuity editing but induced by the perceived rawness of film production which undermines an audience’s awareness that this was a ‘performed ‘ film. This effect is exacerbated by an unstable camera angle that always shifts and ambient noises in the background even when conversations between characters are going on. In contrast to the fast pace of Hotel Rwanda where the drama is sustained by ordeal after ordeal, Munyurangabo has many long shots on ordinary activities such as putting on shoes, walking to places and silent intervals between conversations. While there is apparently nothing that is narratively purposeful going on in these banal scenes, they can contain many layers of unspoken emotions. For example, a ploughing scene juxtaposes Sangwa, who is working hard to please his father, with Ngabo, who ends up resting early and joking with Gwiza. This scene presents many levels of intricate relational uncertainties – How exactly is Sangwa trying to seek approval from his dad by ploughing harder? Is Sangwa angry with Ngabo for resting and hence making an impression on his father that he is lazy? Is Sangwa jealous with Gwiza for joking amicably with Ngabo in this situation? These unanswered questions about the relationships between characters suggest that Munyurangabo presents suffering at the level of the quotidian. Unlike Hotel Rwanda, which couches suffering in a dramatic context, Munyurangabo’s suffering is not an intense, one-time off occurrence but one that can be quite mundane, part of an everyday reality.

Such stark filmic differences illustrate how both films are working towards different ‘truths’ about suffering in the Rwandan genocide according to different frames of references. While Hotel Rwanda attempts to position the audience in an understandable environment so as to amplify the senselessness of the genocide, Munyurangabo disorientates the audience by plunging them into the midst of ambiguity that is the Rwandan condition.

How We See

Moreover, Hotel Rwanda does not disarm a non-Rwandan audience in the same way Munyurangabo does. Firstly, the film is entirely in English instead of Kinyarwanda (the native language of Rwanda). Furthermore, just as the title ‘Hotel Rwanda’ is clear enough to indicate that the film will be about a hotel, the protagonist ‘Paul’ is a familiar English name that a Western audience will identify with immediately. Even Rwandan names like ‘Tatiana’ and ‘Dube’ are not difficult for a non-Rwandan audience. In contrast, Munyurangabo is entirely in Kinyarwanda and the five-syllable title ‘Munyurangabo’ would not make immediate sense to a non-Rwandan audience, who probably has to depend on the film to know that it is actually Ngabo’s full name . Besides assuming that ‘Ngabo’ is already his full name, a non-Rwandan audience has to concede to being ignorant about Rwanda throughout the film.

A non-Rwandan audience’s assumptions being debunked by actual Rwandan facts is the very dynamic that Hotel Rwandan attempts to avoid. this first sentence is a bit awkward. Instead of setting up barriers that exclude, Hotel Rwanda creates shared grounds so that an audience can attempt to connect. Hence, instead of featuring a song in Kinyarwanda at the opening scene like Munyurangabo does, Hotel Rwanda starts its initial scenes with a song in English about “African beer”. Hotel Rwanda also does not lapse into jokes or sayings that are unfamiliar to a non-Rwandan audience, even extending a moment of connection to a western audience when Rutasagan says, “A bargain buy from China. Ten cents each.” On the contrary, Munyurangabo contains many moments of disconnection as a non-Rwandan audience encounters dialogue that appears senseless. For example, it is unclear if the “chicken looking for a bride ” was a reference to a cultural joke in Rwanda. The ignorance of a non-Rwandan audience excludes them from the full effect of the film and this distances them from the Rwandan’s plight.

Who We See

Both films also focalise their narratives differently. For Hotel Rwanda, the focaliser is clearly Paul as the film is orientated narratively and emotionally around him. Accordingly, Hotel Rwanda negotiates the hurts and injustice of the Rwandan genocide through Paul, which causes the audience to understand a suffering that is meaningful only because it is within the personal dimensions of Paul’s life.

In the initial scenes, Paul is immediately established as someone with leadership, resourcefulness and the ability of getting along well with very different kinds of people, be it superior or subordinate. We see him laughing with white businessmen at the airport, shrewdly pleasing Rutaganda by offering him a Cohiba cigar instead of money and joking with his employee, Dube, even as he dispenses wisdom to him. Dube, the first Tutsi the audience encounters, becomes a foil to Paul. His timidity and expressed relief when he is rescued from the mob through Paul’s interference, surfaces Paul’s benevolence and foreshadows his eventual filmic depiction as a saviour of the Tutsis. Hence, the Rwandan genocide is framed within Paul’s personal context and development as an altruistic hero.

Paul’s heroism is further reinforced by his being a family man, as his family is the first thing he becomes a hero for. This family man quality of Paul is first reflected in an early scene , when Paul drives back to his home on the hotel van. At his home, we see Paul’s martial intimacy with Tatiana as well as many shots of children at play (screencap 3).

The scene becomes a symbol of a picturesque past that the genocide had wrecked as it converts Paul’s picture-perfect family as the thing that is ‘at stake’.

Accordingly, moments when Paul’s family is under threat are connected to the implications of the Rwandan genocide and they become crucial points where suffering is represented in Hotel Rwanda. As illustrated by the soldier who entered the hotel room where Paul and his wife are sleeping (screencap 4), Paul’s domestic space has been violated by the Rwandan genocide and he constantly defends it as the film progresses.

Accordingly, Paul’s anxiety, anguish, relief and anger regulate the audience’s concept of suffering when he fights for his family’s safety. This is best seen in the film’s ending which was couched in a climax through Paul and Tatiana managing to find Tatiana’s brother’s children. A film critic describes the ending as a

Clumsy wrapping up of the story… The improbable saving of the UN convoy from an Interahamwe mob through a fortuitous RPF ambush is inept, and the subsequent depiction of an all too orderly refugee camp with its all too ample medical facilities is a good example of the film’s tendency to underplay the wretchedness of the Rwandan situation…. film succumbs to a cloying sentimentality with its conventional Hollywood ending. (Bickford-Smith, 290)

Although it is noted with a harsh tone, the critic affirms that ‘suffering’ in the Rwandan genocide is framed in the dynamics of Paul’s relationships and reactions. Also implied in the “conventional Hollywood ending”, Hotel Rwanda has the guise of a black and white tale which is held coherent by the uncomplicated plot of protecting one’s family against all odds. It is within this framework that Paul becomes an audience’s proxy to navigate in the ‘senselessness’ of the genocide, something that is outside of a ‘normal’. Hence, we are led to a ‘truth’ of Rwandan suffering that is easier to manage and assess.

In contrast, Munyurangabo does not have a clear focaliser. As aforementioned, the filmic techniques create an effect of excluding the audience from the Rwandan plight and position them as observers who watch a situation unfold. This detachment is symbolised by the motif of a character’s back facing the audience, an act that distances an audience from each character and by extension, the Rwandan condition.

As observed in screencap 5a and 5b, this act is usually featured in the context of unspoken emotions. Screencap 5a shows the strong friendship between Sangwa and Ngabo as seen in their physical gestures of affection. In contrast, screencap 5b shows the divide in their friendship as seen in the distance they are walking apart from each other. Be it intimacy or bitterness, what both scenes have in common is that the audience is omitted from the depth of the emotional occurrence. Hence, the film indicates that the audience cannot enter the pain of a Rwandan victim.

Moreover, unlike Hotel Rwanda, Munyurangabo does not clarify the Hutu/Tutsi distinction so quickly. A non-Rwandan audience would be unaware about how this distinction has affected the relations between characters in the film as it has been left as something unspoken for a long duration in the film. It is only revealed at the midpoint of the film when Saghwa wakes up to a recollection of what his father said, “That boy you are with, don’t you know he’s a Tutsi?” The revelation foregrounds questions about what Sangwa’s family truly feels about Ngabo’s presence. This culminates in the awkward silence when Ngabo poses a question to Sangwa’s father, “Can we go together to see Gwiza? He’s my friend.”

To appreciate what exactly is going on in the interval of silence before Sangwa’s father’s angry outburst against Ngabo, an audience has to be intuitive to the many layers of social dynamics at play in this situation. Firstly, Ngabo is a guest in Sangwa’s house, which probably means that a certain level of hospitality should be extended to him. Also, Sangwa appears to have a tenuous relationship with his father that might have become strained by Ngabo’s actions. In addition to this, Ngabo is a Tutsi in a household of Hutus and this suggests that the family can either have hatred towards him or feel guilty because of the genocide. Ultimately though, the audience’s sentiments are echoed in what Saghwa’s father said to him, “I don’t know what’s in your mind.” Even when an audience takes all these relationship considerations into account, it is difficult to pinpoint what is exactly being experienced by each character in the scene. Hence, in contrast to Hotel Rwanda’s ‘suffering’ that is rendered comprehensible in Paul’s terms, Munyurangabo’s concept of ‘suffering’ is incomprehensible due to the mess of character subjectivities, none of which an audience is completely aligned to. ‘Suffering’ is appreciated not by means of identification with a character like Paul, but by means of being viscerally impacted by the complex relationships in the site of the film.

This complication is exacerbated by how the relationships in Munyurangabo are not picture-perfect as Paul’s. All characters in the film are revealed to have moral flaws such as Saghwa’s mother who lies about not having food at home (only taking the food out for Saghwa when Ngabo was not around), Saghwa’s father who appears unpredictably hot and cold in his responses towards his son and even Ngabo who might be read as being selfish to Saghwa at certain points. Unlike Paul who is trying to prevent ‘suffering’ from entering his apparently untainted domestic space, the characters in Munyurangabo inflict suffering on each other within the domestic space. In fact, the essential quality of suffering experienced in Munyurangabo is domestic.

We see this in how Saghwa’s father hits Saghwa violently when he enters the house because he found out about his plan to kill a man together with Ngabo (screencap 7). Later on, Ngabo has the cheek to mock his situation light-heartedly, “I told you your father is a bad man!” When Saghwa follows him, he tells him to “leave [him] alone”, eventually pushing him to the ground. Hence, for Munyurangabo ‘suffering’ is not a force that has infiltrated a normal but an internal condition that is manifested in sophisticated relationships.

Where We See

Hotel Rwanda creates a dichotomy between the unspeakable horrors that are going on in the rest of Rwanda, beyond the reach of the hotel, and the tribulations that are faced within the hotel, heroically handled by Paul. Hence, it distinguishes Paul’s experience of ‘suffering’ (emotional implications due to the Rwandan genocide’s effect on him and his family) with Paul’s looking at ‘suffering’ (the gore and violence that is happening when genocide occurs). Even as Paul experiences ‘suffering’ in his coherent, emotional framework, there are still moments that he has to emerge from this framework to look at the latter ‘suffering’, something which is outside the domestic space he is trying to protect. However, while Hotel Rwanda encourages such ‘suffering’ to be taken as a spectacle, it is always indirectly perceived. The film illustrates this by the motif of ‘looking out’ from a protected space (screencap 8a).

Accordingly, Paul’s ‘looking’ at violence is always mediated (screencap 8b). The only killings that appear in the film are seen through a small screen belonging to news reporters staying at the hotel and the first time dead bodies are seen by Paul is in a misty environment. Such indistinct and insulated representations of this second form of ‘suffering’ reinforce the audience’s position of comfortable navigation through Paul’s vantage point.

In contrast, Munyurangabo disallows ‘suffering’ to become a spectacle. The most intense physical violence we see in the film is Saghwa’s father beating him, and the scene’s effect is not founded in suffering being a form of pornography, but in the emotional uncertainty of how to grapple with Saghwa’s relationship with his father being torn apart by Ngabo. Moreover, when the suffering of the Rwandan genocide is finally commented on in the film, it is referred to explicitly, with no visual complement of violence. This first occurs when Ngabo recounts his experience of fleeing the genocide with his mother. Cinematically it is presented as a voiceover across many scenes that mostly show empty Rwandan land (Screencap 9a & 9b).

The second instance that the suffering of the Rwandan genocide is being told is through a poet’s recitation of a poem , a filmically uncharacteristic close-up scene which lasts for almost a full seven minutes (screencap 10).

Hence, Munyurangabo does not attempt to capture suffering through visual representation. Instead, the film situates Rwandan suffering in the act of remembering, which is necessarily exclusive to Rwandans because only Rwandans who are in some way connected to the genocide can share in such sentiments. Even so, the Rwandan poet’s address to the audience is finally an instance when an audience is not filmically ignored. Instead, we come face to face with a real Rwandan, appreciating the emotion in the poet’s voice and the musical quality of Kinyarwanda. Hence, Munyurangabo looks to Rwandans themselves to be the source of insight on Rwandan suffering.

Why It Hurts

I have shown that Hotel Rwanda and Munyurangabo are two very different films that present different ‘truths’ about suffering in the Rwandan genocide. As I have earlier argued, both ‘truths’ of suffering are essential because they add to the ‘deeper’ reality of the Rwandan genocide. By addressing the Rwandan genocide on different fronts, both films present two equally enriching sites of struggle.

“We Must Shame Them Into Sending Help”

For Hotel Rwanda, the film creates a context for a non-Rwandan audience to engage with the Rwandan genocide even though they cannot access the Rwandan condition directly. Through a non-Rwandan’s comfort zone that is Paul, the failure of the international community to act in the Rwandan genocide is fleshed out in powerful intensity. This infliction of guilt is perhaps best played out in the scene when all the Whites are leaving the Hotel , being escorted with umbrellas to the bus. In the midst of a chaotic scenario (screencaps 12a & 12b) Paul performs his role as the efficient Hotel manager, facilitating the situation to ensure that only Whites can leave.

The irony of Paul’s actions is potent because the audience is so inextricably tied to Paul’s vantage point. Hence, Hotel Rwanda induces guilt on a non-Rwandan audience, presenting a ‘suffering’ that is found in the context of a West-centric disconnection and helplessness.

“What Is Your Battle?”

In contrast, Munyurangabo highlights how the suffering of the Rwandan genocide persists as a reality for every Rwandan at a quotidian level. Reconciliation is appropriately presented as difficult because of the relational complexities between the characters. This is fleshed out in the irresolution which the film ends with (screencap 14).

Ngabo may have forgiven his father’s murderer by fetching water for him, but can he forgive Saghwa, a Hutu who has been implicated in this complex dynamics that is the post-Rwandan genocide? Munyurangabo does not answer, leaving the audience with a lingering uncertainty that is also found in Rwandan ‘suffering’.

Conclusion

Although each filmic representation captures ‘suffering’ differently in the Rwandan genocide, both representations are not mutually exclusive ‘truths’. Taken together (with the caveat that both representations are still an incomplete picture) we glimpse a fuller and richer knowledge of suffering in the Rwandan genocide. This richness is not achieved by the possession of additional information, but through the appreciation of each text as a ‘para’ text. In other words, we glean a new kind of ‘truth’ when two ‘truths’ are positioned side-by-side. Thus, a postmodern framework considers filmic representations as the epistemological mechanism for us to acquire a ‘deeper’ reach into the recesses of a reality. As noted by Bran Nicol,

…the attitude of self-reflexivity or ironic knowingness…characterises postmodern culture. We may be divorced from the real, but at least we know we are…we know we can no longer take for granted (if we ever did) that “reality” is something natural, something innocently “given”. Rather reality is an ideological illusion sustained by the matrix of postindustrialism and media culture. (Nicol, 566-567. Emphasis mine.)

Therefore, because of the “knowingness” that we do not know, we attain a superior grasp on what we can know. Postmodernism is not pessimistic but constructive because it unveils to us how we are engulfed by the “ideological illusion” that is ‘reality’, thereby enabling us to truly see how it hurts.

Works Cited

Hotel Rwanda. Dir. Terry George. Perf. Don Cheadle, Sohie Okonedo and Nick Nolte. Lions Gate Entertainment United Artist, 2004. Film.

Munyurangabo. Dir. Lee Isaac Chung. Perf. Jeff Rutagengwa, Eric Dorunkundiye and Edouard B Uwayo. Almond Tree Films, 2007. Film.

Nicol, Bran. A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture. “Postmodernism”. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. Print.

Bertens, Hans. The Idea of the Postmodern. London and NY: Routledge, 1995. Print.

White, Daniel, and Alan Wang. “Universalism, Humanism, and Postmodernism.” American Psychologist. 50.2 (1995): 392-393. Web. 1 Apr 2012.

Vivian Bickford-Smith, and Richard Mendelsohn. Black + White In Colour: African History on Screen. Ohio University Press, 2007. Print.

Mike Chopra-Gant. Cinema and History. Wallflower Press, 2008. Print.

White, Hayden. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1978.

Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. England: Penguin Group, 2003.