Beyond The Gates– Take you BEYOND Anything You Could Imagine in Movies.. and More. Fashiontribes LA STORY MOVIE Review

“Beyond the Gates” is both a compelling–and repellant–depiction of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in 1994.  In contrast to the highly acclaimed “Hotel Rwanda” which deals with the same subject. Beyond the Gates does not tell the story of the heroic actions of an individual but rather of the cowardice and apathy of nations–and the United Nations specifically.

The story takes place at a school in Kigali, Rwanda called Ecole Technique Officelle (ETO), which was also being used as a U.N. Army base.  When a Hutu uprising in April 1994 upsets the tenuous peace being “monitored” by the U.N. forces, over 2,500 Tutsi take refuge within the gates of the ETO.  Five days later, U.N. forces withdrew taking the white refugees with them and leaving the Tutsi to be hacked by machetes by the hordes of Hutu waiting just outside the gates.

The film stars John Hurt (“The Elephant Man”) as Father Christopher, a Catholic priest who runs the ETO and

Hugh Dancy (David Copperfield”) who plays the idealistic Joe Connor, a teacher from the U.K.


Also featured are Clare-Hope Ashitey (“Children of Men”) who plays a young Tutsi girl named Marie and Dominique Horwitz as the conflicted Belgium U.N. commandant, Captain Delon.  Directed by Michael Caton-Jones, the film was shot on location in Kigali were the massacre occurred 10 years prior.  In fact, survivors of the massacre contributed to the production and are featured in the credits of the film.

Given the horrific nature of the subject matter, it’s doubtful that this film will do well at the box office.  “Hotel Rwanda” only grossed $23.5 million domestically.  Blood Diamond, which deals with civil war in Sierra Leone, has grossed $56 million to-date–despite an Oscar-nominated performance by Leonardo DiCaprio.  Even for the most well-known of genocide films, Spielberg’s masterful “Schindler’s List,” the domestic box office was a mere $96 million–a pittance compared to the family comedy “A Night at the Museum” which has grossed $243.5 million domestically to-date.

Which is tragic–because as difficult as it is to sit through the portrayal of these unspeakable events, it’s even more of a travesty to allow them to continue.  The movie challenges the viewer to take some kind of stand, some sort of action.  In the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  And genocides of this nature continue to occur even today–most notably in Darfur in the Sudan.  So while it may be easier to sit mindlessly through the latest installment of the “Scary Movie” series, it behooves us all to be informed and to not ignore the atrocities happening to on our own planet.



Beyond the Gates opens Friday, March 9th.

Stella Louise

L.A. Story


Author: Stevie Wilson

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