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Hotel Rwanda Short Summary

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Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 film written and directed by Terry George and Keir Pearson. It is a reenactment of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which some of the most vicious atrocities in human history took place. Within three months, over a million people were murdered. Despite all the madness, one ordinary man gathers up courage and rescues close to 1000 refugees, by offering them asylum in a hotel under his management.

The film begins with an outbreak of a civil war between the Tutsi and Hutu communities. The manager of Sabena Hotel is a Hutu by the name Paul Rusesabagina, while his wife is a Tutsi by the name Tatiana. Hutu extremists are targeting him due to his marriage. The hotel’s supplier, who is also his friend, is leading the local arm of the Interahamwe militia- an anti-Tutsi movement.

As the political heat intensifies, Paul watches as his neighbors get frog matched out of their houses and brutally beaten on the streets. However, Paul is connected to influential people and bribes them using alcohol and money in exchange for their security. Upon the outbreak of full-blown war, Paul can no longer negotiate with Rwandan army officials. He decides to transfer everyone to the hotel. Refugees continue streaming in from various orphanages and camps. Paul must now divert Hutu fighters, offer assurance to his people, and maintain the facade of a functional hotel. All the while, matters are getting out of hand, and mobs are assembling just outside the hotel.

UN peacekeeping forces under the leadership of Col. Oliver, cannot take any intervening actions against the Interahamwe militia. They have been banned from intervening in the conflict. All foreign nationals get evacuated, leaving the Rwandans behind. The UN forces after that try to rescue some refugees, with Paul’s family included. However, they are accosted by the militia, thus forcing them to retreat. As a last attempt to rescue the refugees, Paul communicates with the nation’s army general by the name Augustin Bizimungu, but his bribe fails to convince the general. He then blackmails him through the threat of being convicted as a war criminal. His efforts succeed in convincing the general to allow them to leave. Finally, a UN convoy ferries all the refugees out of the hotel. They make their way through numerous masses of militia and refugees to arrive at a safe place behind the Tutsi lines.

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