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Lehrstuhl für Romanische Literaturwissenschaft und Komparatistik unter besonderer Berücksichtigung Afrikas – Professor Dr. Ute Fendler

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Impressionen ruandischer Dokumentarfilm

 “Using film to record and understand violence in the African context introducing individual stories through cinema”

Thursday 04th of December

Jacqueline Kalimunda is a director born in Kigali, Rwanda, 32 years ago. After graduating in business and in history she started working first in production then as an editor for 7 years on documentaries (with Jean Xavier de Lestrade on The Justice of men…) and on short and middle length feature films. She also worked on television series. Finally she wrote, directed and co-produced her first film in 2002, a 23 minutes short film called About Braids that was awarded numerous prizes included the best short film Award In Milan 2003.
Homeland is the conclusion of a long project started when she was researching mages of Rwanda for her graduation thesis with historians Jean Pierre Chrétien and Hélène d’Almeida Topor. She is now preparing her first feature film.

Kalimunda    Homeland

My Rwanda
By Jacqueline Kalimunda

The figures show a glimpse of the horror that hit Rwanda in 1994. One million people killed in one hundred days. One million people killed in a population of 8 million. Just because one part of the population feels Hutu and another one feels Tutsi.
I was born and lived my childhood and teenage years in Rwanda and the horror that Rwanda went through strikes me as much as the paradox of this situation. Indeed anyone who has lived in Rwanda has tales of friendship and love between some members of the 2 communities as much as tales of hatred and segregation. So what happened for so many Rwandans to be transformed into killers ? One million dead… How many killers ? How many watchers ? Furthermore as much as it seems so obvious to point out the Hutus from the Tutsis, if you ask anyone in Rwanda or elsewhere to show you who is Hutu, who is Tutsi, many, if not all, will confuse the too. Especially since everyone speaks the same language, has the same culture and live in the same areas. Identity cards – with ethnic groups marked on - were not always asked at the barriers where many were killed. So how did the killers manage to separate, isolate and massacre 10000 people a day ? How did they know who was who ? By the length of the nose ? On the other hand let’s not be naïve, it does seem that, although Rwandans are known to be rather quite people, they have always had to express any change in society or in politics by shedding blood : 1959, 1963, 1973, 1979, 1994.
When I was preparing this film in Rwanda I looked for people who had personal viewpoints based on their own life’s experiences. People with different opinions, who were ready to confront with opposing arguments.
So welcome for a journey with strong minded companions, in a beautiful land of violence, extreme beliefs and wicked politics… my homeland.

What does Jacqueline Kalimunda told us? Some extracts:

No one answered for me the question of how a group speaking the same language, living in the same territory with the same cultural values can decide to split and organise a mass killing against members of the same group. No one was able to explain how so much cruelty was possible from regular individuals towards their friends, neighbours.
I then decided to ask the ones who had gone through the whole process...
When I met people, I tried to know them not only through their experience of the genocide but also through their regular lives...
My personnal story is also shown in the film as part of a collective drama. I do not pretend not to be there. And I don’t try to hide opinions differing from mine. I remain subjective just as I try to preserve my interviewees subjective opinions...
The idea was that through the use of a construction that may be considered unrealistic, I may be able to get closer to expressing the feel of a moment...
More than stories I have to admit that I was interested in transmitting emotions...
As an individual I represent nothing more than who I am. As an individual with a camera, if I manage to convince my interviewee that I am sincere in my questions and that I am able to understand (hence the issue of language and face to face communication), I represent the medium for an individual to pass on to the future or to the others messages that are rarely told in other circumstances...


Verantwortlich für die Redaktion: Farzam Abrishami

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