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SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL:
THE JOURNEY OF ROMeO DALLAIRE
UK: ICA Projects
UK DVD: Metrodome
Cast: Romeo Dallaire
Director: Peter Raymont
Language: English / French (English subtitles)
UK: 91 mins
UK Release Date: 5 August 2005 (Limited Release - London, ICA)
UK DVD Release Date: 3 September 2007
AA powerful and painful documentary following Romeo Dallaire, commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, back to the scene of the slaughter he was rendered powerless to prevent.
The film presents the background to the tribal rivalry between Hutu and Tutsi and relives — through Dallaire's eyes — the massacre that took place while the rest of the world averted its eyes. Dallaire's return to Rwanda allows him to start coming to terms with his own part in this terrible tragedy as he surveys the still-tentative steps being taken towards the country's recovery.
In 1994, word began to spread around the globe of an incomprehensible tragedy unfolding in the small African nation of Rwanda. In a period of just 100 days, the country's Hutu extremists had executed more than 800,000 Tutsis with ruthless efficiency. Genocide had once again blighted the world.
Shake Hands With The Devil recounts this unconscionable series of events through the eyes Canadian Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, the man tasked by the United Nations Security Council with maintaining peace in the beautiful, yet volatile, nation.
Valiantly leading ill-equipped, untrained troops who did not want to be there and desperately pleading each worsening day with the UN for reinforcements and revised rules of engagement, Dellaire was rendered powerless by his superiors in New York. The inevitable failure of the peacekeeping mission haunts him to this day. The mental anguish of reliving of the horrors he witnessed more than once drove him to attempt to end his own life.
Following Dellaire's emotional journey, 10 years later, back to Rwanda, the film is an resolute and gut-wrenching indictment of a UN administration that had the opportunity to stop the killing, yet let it play out with devastating consequences.
Commentary by director Peter Raymont
Commentary by TV host Geoff Pevere
General Dellaire book reading
'Real To Reel' interview with director Peter Raymont