Tag Archives: Oscars

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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The IFC Theatre Made Me Sweat…Literally

Last year, I passed by the IFC Theatre for the first time on my way to a conference at NYU, and since I watch the IFC channel on TV, the theatre intrigued me enough to promise myself that I would go one day. Finally, I got my chance on Tuesday; little did I know it would be hell getting there. I knew I should have looked up the directions beforehand, but I was in a rush and decided to wing it based on the directions someone had fleetingly said. Bad choice! My dad has always told me “Don’t rely on other people; if you have to do something, do it yourself” and this was one of those times I should’ve listened.

After a meeting at Baruch College, I ran quickly to the 6 train, got off at 14th street, almost got on the L train because I thought it went to West 4th Street and subsequently became lost.  So, after asking a nice passenger how to get to West 4th, I hurried back to the 6 train, got off at Astor Place and was still lost. Luckily, I am not too proud to ask, and asked for directions to West 4th, resulting in a 15 minute power-walk to the theatre. But guess who I saw on my way there?! I passed by Arianna Huffington! However, even she could not stop me from my goal— to get to the theatre before 2:30! If you know me well, I hate being late. So with a few minutes left, I practically broke jaywalking laws to get there.

And I made it with with less than 30 second to spare — breathing heavy, sweating under my jacket, and stumbling in the dark to find a seat in the small theatre. After taking a seat, I took out my notebook (yes, I can write in the dark) and waited for the the short films to begin. At the end of all the films, I must say this: All the drama in the films were definitely worth all the drama it took for me to see them.

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