The Day God Walked Away


The Day God Walked Away is the latest film release to cover the Rwanda genocide of April and May 1994. Directed by Philipe Van Leeuw, the film follows the story of Jacqueline, a tutsi, played by Rwandan pop star Ruth Niere, as she is left behind by the family she was nannying for, as they escaped before the genocide. Van Leeuw explains the story behind the film,

“Some friends of mine returned from Rwanda following the emergency evacuation… Before they left, they hid Jacqueline, their children’s Rwandan nanny, in the attic of their house in Kigali, hoping that she would escape the massacre. They never knew what became of her.” link

The film is currently running at the Toronto Film Festival. The IndieWire blog gives it (mostly) a thumbs up,

While the film ostensibly has the same problem shared by so many of its predecessors—mainly that it was not made by an African (or Rwandan) filmmaker and therefore suffers a little from an “outsider seeking to honor the reality of the victims” complex without a primary emotional knowledge of the depth of cultural meaning embodied in the genocidal reality—van Leeuw goes much further than most other filmmakers at taking the devastation from the realm of the surreal question of “how could this happen” to the more relevant cinematic issue of the experience itself. As such, van Leeuw honors the best of cinema by giving voice to the feelings of the victim and bringing the power of emotioal memory to bear on every single moment; the trauma suffered by Jacqueline is only one experience among a million, but van Leeuw makes sure it is precise and, most importantly, deeply felt. link

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