The latest installment of a project that’s occupied documentarian Anne Aghion for more than a decade, “My Neighbor My Killer” continues the chronicling of Rwanda’s 1994 genocidal aftermath she began with “Gacaca, Living Together in Rwanda?” (2002) and “In Rwanda We Say … ” (2004). Indeed, there’s considerable overlap at times with those entries, and the lack of much context here makes the feature perhaps most rewarding to those who have seen the prior two. The valuable historical document should travel far on the fest circuit, then attract some tube and educational exposure.

After nearly 1 million Rwandans were killed in government-supported Hutu “ethnic cleansing” of minority Tutsis, many suspected perps were jailed. Ten years ago, the new regime commenced hearings designed to let surviving communities publicly try their now-freed assailants. The process is fascinating, though not always satisfying: Women recall seeing children, husbands and grandparents brutally murdered by neighbors, yet despite eyewitness corroboration, most of those accused simply parrot “not me!” denials. (Would they be more forthcoming without cameras present?) Residents’ verdant surroundings and vibrant dress offer visual contrast to their horrific testimonies in the simply assembled package.

My Neighbor My Killer

  • Production: A Gacaca production. Produced, directed by Anne Aghion.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DigiBeta), James Kakwerere, Linette Frewin, Claire Bailly du Bois, Mathieu Hagnery; editor, Nadia Ben Rachid; music, Florida Uwera, Jos Gansemanns, Cecile Kayirebwa. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival (competing), May 4, 2009. (Also in Cannes Film Festival -- Special Screenings.) English, Kinyarwanda dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Annonciata Mukanyonga, Euphrasie Mukarwemera, Jean-Paul Shyirakera, Abraham Rwamfizi, Vianney Byirabo.
  • Music By: