Review: ‘100 Days’

Nearly 10 years after the onset of Rwanda's genocidal "ethnic cleansing" wars, "100 Days" re-creates one early slaughter at its original site. First feature for writer-helmer Nick Hughes draws on his nonfiction expertise as a vet BBC cameraman to dramatize real-life atrocities with harrowing matter-of-factness.

Nearly 10 years after the onset of Rwanda’s genocidal “ethnic cleansing” wars, “100 Days” re-creates one early slaughter at its original site. First feature for writer-helmer Nick Hughes draws on his nonfiction expertise as a vet BBC cameraman to dramatize real-life atrocities with harrowing matter-of-factness. Unpleasant subject won’t be an easy sell, but this accomplished, accessible English-language effort deserves limited theatrical and broadcast exposure in territories worldwide.

Narrative nominally focuses on handsome young lovers, Josette (Cleophas Kabasita) and Baptiste (Davis Kagenza) whose innocent courtship in Kibuye is interrupted by Hutu violence against their Tutsi neighbors. Petty harassment soon explodes into vigilante attacks. His whole family murdered, Baptiste flees into the jungle (disappearing from pic’s midsection), while Josette and kin are herded along with other Tutsi townsfolk into a Catholic church where she’s forced to become the local priest’s concubine. When U.N. peacekeepers reluctantly leave, there’s no one left to stop the inevitable massacre — or Tutsi rebel army revenge. Beauteous countryside provides chilling contrast to the official hypocrisy and bloodlust. Occasional stiff perfs aside, pic reps docudrama filmmaking at its finest; tech package is first-rate.

100 Days

Rwanda-U.K.

Production

A Broadcast Feature Facilities production in association with Vivid Pictures. Produced by Eric Kabera, Nick Hughes. Executive producer, Hughes. Directed, written by Nick Hughes.

Crew

Camera (color), Hughes; editor, Kavila Matu; music, Steve Parr, Sharon Rose, Cecile Kayiregawa; production designer, Hughes. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Planet Africa), Sept. 13, 2001. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Cleophas Kabasita, Mazimpaka Kennedy, Davis Kagenza, Davis Kwizera, David Mulwa, Denis Nsanzamahoro, Justin Rusandazangabo, Eric Bridges Twahirwa, Didier Ndengeyintwali.
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