Na Wewe: The True Rwanda Story

“Na Wewe,” Ivan Goldschmidt’s dark visualization of the Rwanda Genocide, means you too in Kirundi. Because of the historical context of the film and its underlying allegory of self-identity, viewers may just be left with vertigo.

As a director, a film editor, a theater stage director, and more recently a sculptor and a painter, Goldschmidt is an exemplar for diversity. His resume includes the short film, “Ketchup,” and the TV series, “François the Bachelor and his Terrific Friends.” He can now add that his recent short- film, “Na Wewe,” was nominated for an Oscar.

Accompanied with co-writer Jean-Luc Pening, Goldschmidt both wrote and directed Na Wewe. Although Jean Luc- Pening is from Belgian descent, he lived in Rwanda with his wife and child until the Rwanda Genocide took place. As a former UN agent for Africa, Pening captivates the realism of Na Wewe.

Civil unrest results in genocide in Burundi

After returning from his plantation one day, Pening was stopped by a military truck.

A soldier shot him at the temple. With his right eye torn off and his left optic nerve damage, he became blind.  He began to write a screenplay, which led him to remember a certain classmate. “I received this text by email and I told myself it must be done. It’s a universal story,” says Goldschmidt. Pening’s “vision” became Goldschmidt’s stage.

This stage took place in Burundi in the year 1994. Burundi, which is located in Eastern Africa, borders Rwanda. In 1994, the Rwanda Genocide took place. Within a matter of months eight hundred thousand Rwandans were killed!

Does any one have a choice of where they come from?

Most of the causalities included the Tutsis, who are at the forefront of Na Wewe. A bus carrying several people, including one Belgium man, who is played by Renaud Rutten, gets stopped by rebel Tutsis, who pillage and kill anyone who is a Hutus, the main perpetrators of the heinous act. What is a Tutsis? What is a Hutus?

How am I supposed to know that without Google?

This Belgium film was very well done, especially in terms of production, but there is a slim chance that lines of people are going to watch this film. With a cast of unknowns and a language barrier, many film goers may feel empty handed by Na Wewe.

Na Wewe hopes to follow Toylands success. Toyland, the 2009 Academy Award  winner for Best Live Action movie depicts the story of a Jewish family and an Aryan family who are friends and neighbors. As the deportation of Jews takes place in Germany, both families are impacted greatly. Both Toyland and Na Wewe are historical pieces that should not be forgotten. Their messages are to prevent future corruption and share the stories of the fallen causalities that should never be forgotten.

Will Na Wewe win the Academy Award on February 27th? Watch the Academy Awards on ABC at 8:30 PM to find out.

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3 Responses to Na Wewe: The True Rwanda Story

  1. I was so upset to that this film did not win. And to be beat out by a film that, to me, had no real depth is frustrating.

  2. izaydenberg says:

    Agree with Jerrica — God of Love should NOT have won. Duh.
    Also, just a sidenote: the Hutus were the ones that stopped the van. The Tutsis were the primary victims of the genocide. =]

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