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Shake Hands With The Devil

Director:

Roger Spottiswoode

Screenplay

Michael Donovan, based on General Roméo Dallaire’s book of the same name

Producers

Laszlo Barna  (Barna-Alper Productions), Michael Donovan (Halifax Film Company) and Arnie Gelbart (Galafilm)

Budget

10 M

Locations

Kigali, Rwanda, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Language

English

Cast

Roy Dupuis (General Romeo Dallaire); James Gallanders (Major Brent Beardley); Jean-Hugues Anglade (Bernard Kouchner) Mark Antony Krupa (Stefan Stek) Deborah Kara Unger (Emma)

Distributor

Seville Films

Genre

Drama

Duration

112 minutes

Release Date

September 28th, 2007

 

 

Shake Hands with the Devil is the story of a Canadian soldier torn between his duty and his conscience.  In 1994, the United Nations dispatched LGen. Roméo Dallaire to far-off Rwanda to enforce a difficult peace. 

The peace treaty between the rebels, led by the minority ethnic group, the Tutsi, and the French-supported government made up of the majority group, the Hutu, is on shaky ground.  The day LGen. Dallaire orders the UN flag raised six little girls are massacred in the countryside in what appears to be the work of the rebels.  Chaos ensues.
Given neither the tools nor the power to do the job he was entrusted with, LGen. Dallaire takes charge of the situation as best he can.  Launching investigations into the massacres and designating the capital a weapons-free zone, he whips his small, ill-provisioned force of international peacekeepers into the best shape he can.  But while trying to take decisive action to preserve the peace, he is undercut by his own superiors, who have their own political interests to protect.

Powerless to prevent the country descending into hell, LGen. Dallaire is ordered home.  He disobeys.  he insists on staying and saving those that he can from the genocide, while futilely doing everything possible to stop it.  When the Belgian troops pull out after ten of their soldiers are killed, he can do nothing but stand by and watch as his best-equipped troops leave.  When New York cancels the peace mission entirely, he knows his only chance for help lies with the media covering the civil war. 

Promising journalists a story every day if they will stay, LGen. Dallaire attempts to shame the international community into action. In the end, he saves some 30,000 people, but 800,000 have died in the span of only a hundred days.  What he was able to do seems to him all too little.  He leaves a broken man - but a man we deeply respect.

 

 

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