Films of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
Specificity in Genocide Portrayal on Film: Sometimes in April (2005): Sara L. Rubin
Sara L. Rubin
Raoul Peck, the widely respected director of Sometimes in April,1 boasts a filmography that includes works about Third World countries and the people who live in them. His personal background contributes to his interest in and skill at making a film about Rwandan genocide.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Peck’s family fled the regime of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier when he was eight, settling in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Educated in Kinshasa, as well as in Brooklyn, Peck earned his baccalaureate in Orléans, France. He worked as a taxi driver, journalist and photographer before obtaining a film degree from Berlin’s German Film and Television Academy (DFFA) in 1988.
At the same time, Raoul Peck’s administrative credentials are impressive. He served as Haiti’s Minister of Culture from 1996–1997, in the administration of Rosny Smarth. Once Prime Minister Smarth resigned, in large part because he believed that the April 1997 first-round parliamentary elections were rigged, Peck relinquished his own position,
While in Haiti, Peck released his feature film L’Homme sur les quais (The Man by the Shore) in 1993, competing in that year’s Cannes Film Festival. Two years later, it became the first Haitian film to receive a US release. His 2000 feature film, Lumumba, a profile of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, also received high praise.
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