RFF Day 1; post-genocide doccie “Intore” opens Rwanda Film Fest 

Opening with an indigenous film at the 2014 Rwanda Film Festival was quite telling in itself. Regional festivals do not have half as much belief in films from their own backyard enough to give them such a ringing endorsement. Eric Kabera’s film Intore flagged off a weeklong celebration of global cinema in a country anxious to use cinema as soft power. That he is the de facto patriarch of Rwandan cinema may have had something to do with it. His other works include 100 Days on of the first genocide films by a local long before the likes of Sometimes in April and Hotel Rwanda.

Intore documentary poster

With the events of 1994 still seared onto the world’s collective memory alongside the collective indictment about the world not doing enough, Intore offers a chance to reflect while whipping up “never again” sentiments. Four people, three of them survivors, one a perpetrator are at the centre of the documentary. A mother whose grief gives hope; an artiste who chose to forgive rather than seek revenge; a maestro who brings together the National Ballet with an incredible touch of genius; and a young man who’s determination and hard work has given the Rwandan culture a new dimension of identity and celebration.

Intore Director Eric Kabera (extreme left) with guests at the premiere

The pay off is in the aesthetics even with the rather disjointed narrative. There is one talking head too many, the documentary could have used a further nip and tuck job in post-production and the glaring sound issues were a bit of an ear-sore. That said, the Rwanda National Ballet provides delightful breaks from the tearjerker moments. Delectable dance choreography aims to replicate bovine formations of the cow horn. The ruminant holds a high place in Rwandan society. For the most part, that intercut footage is the film’s saving grace. Intore does work as a soft power initiative to show that Rwanda is on the road to overcome, heal and represent itself into the future even with its 20-year-old scar.


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