Review: ‘A Sunday in Kigali’

The white man's burden in "A Sunday in Kigali" is his guilt about the 100 days of genocide in Rwanda in 1994. However, vet Quebec writer-helmer Robert Favreau's dull account of the catastrophe suffers greatly from comparison to "Hotel Rwanda." Vid and cable are the best options in other territories.

The white man’s burden in “A Sunday in Kigali” is his guilt about the 100 days of genocide in Rwanda in 1994. However, vet Quebec writer-helmer Robert Favreau’s dull account of the catastrophe suffers greatly from comparison to “Hotel Rwanda.” Latter had the same Kigali resort, Hotel des Milles Collines, as a primary setting, but had Africans as primary protags. “Sunday” grossed $1.1 million Canadian in Quebec release last spring, and is set for Sept. 23 release in English-lingo Canada. Vid and cable are the best options in other territories.

Based on the slightly fictionalized novel by Gil Courtemanche (who supplied pic’s wooden dialogue), “Sunday” makes one wonder if massive tragedies such as the Hutu-Tutsi conflagration are nearly impossible to capture in a conventional feature film. Tube journo Bernard (Luc Picard) is making a docu on AIDS in Rwanda, when the greater threat of Tutsi-on-Hutu violence rises as the real story that must be covered. Romance with sweet-natured hotel waitress Gentille (Fatou N’Diaye) develops predictably, but pic is truly undone by a bizarre structure that constantly cuts between the timeframe before the 100-day massacre and the aftermath.

A Sunday in Kigali

Canada

Production

An Equinoxe Films release (in Canada) of a Les Prods. Equinoxe production. (International sales: Seville Pictures, Montreal.) Produced by Lyse Lafontaine , Michael Mosca. Directed, written by Robert Favreau, based on the novel by Gil Courtemanche. Dialogue, Courtemanche.

Crew

Camera (color), Pierre Mignot; editor, Helene Girard; music, Jorane ; production designer, Andre-Line Beauparlant; costume designer, Michele Hamel. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 11, 2006. (Also in Vancouver, Pusan film festivals.) Original title: Un dimanche a Kigali. French, Rwanda dialogue. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Luc Picard, Fatou N'Diaye, Celine Bonnier, Luck Mervil, Maka Kotto.

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