Byline: ALAN MORRISON
DON CHEADLE didn't stand a chance against Jamie Foxx, but he richly deserved his high-profile Oscar nomination. Hotel Rwanda is the film that will catapult him onto the A-list. It's easy to label it 'the Schindler's List of Africa' and imagine that the Academy voted with its conscience rather than its critical eye.
However, that's doing a gross disservice to such a powerful, tense, emotionally devastating piece of work.
This true story follows the brave efforts of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle) as he tries to save the lives of hundreds of refugees while machete-wielding gangs roam the streets of Kigali in 1994.
The genocide in Rwanda is a page from recent history that we in the West would prefer to ignore.
In fact, even as it was happening, the West did its best to turn a blind eye to the slaughter - which makes this film all the more important.
Over a period of weeks, Hutu extremists killed every Tutsi they came across.Women were not spared.
Children were targeted in an attempt to wipe out future generations.
The West dismissed this as another example of Africans fighting other Africans - a tribal dispute with, admittedly, a higher body count than usual.
But as the film reveals, the 'racial' division between Hutu and Tutsi was an arbitrary one devised by Belgians who ruled the country as a colony earlier in the 20th century.
Those with lighter skins and thinner noses were labelled Tutsi.They were the minority, but they were given more political power. And so resentment, created by Europeans, began to grow.
The film explains this background without turning it into a history lesson. …