REVIEW Don't be deceived by the serene, pastoral setting of Lee Isaac Chung's Munyurangabo (2007), a neorealist drama that follows unlikely friends Sangwa (a Hutu) and Ngabo (a Tutsi) as they journey home nearly a decade after the Rwandan genocide. The film's hauntingly peaceful veneer and desolate beauty speaks to the hundreds of thousands killed on Rwandan soil and belies Sangwa and Ngabo's simmering resentment and shame. Refusing to fixate on the war's carnage, Munyurangabo focuses on its psychological repercussions instead. As the pair arrives home to tend to the decimated farmland and to each other, Sangwa struggles with the prejudices that his estranged family still harbors while Ngabo wrestles with his duty to avenge his father's murder. Delving into Rwanda's tragic past, this provocative film that befittingly ends on National Liberation Day wonders if Rwandans can forge new identities unburdened by guilt or vengeance to ultimately find freedom.
MUNYURANGABO opens Fri/12 at the Sundance Kabuki.