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Shooting Dogs / Beyond the Gates

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#1 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:43 PM

I hadn't realized that Shooting Dogs (2005) -- one of the recent crop of Rwandan-genocide movies, which played in Canadian theatres last summer -- had not yet opened in the United States. Nor had I realized that we did not have a thread devoted to this film.

Well, we might as well start one now, since Variety reports that an American distribution deal has finally been struck ... and the film comes to American theatres March 9 ... and they have changed the title to Beyond the Gates, to make the film seem less cynical, less urban-liberal, more spiritual, more Christian-heartland. (The main character is a Catholic priest played by John Hurt.) They have also added opening and closing quotes -- one a Buddhist proverb (which appears to be connected directly to the new title), and the other a quote from Elie Wiesel.

As I say at my blog, it will be interesting to see how this marketing approach works. They want to play up the film's selling points for American Christians ... so they give it a new title that would seem to be directly tied to a newly-added Buddhist proverb?

Personally, I didn't find the original title "cynical" at all. When you get to the scene where the shooting of dogs comes up, you realize that the title is actually an expression of outrage, of righteous anger. But I guess outrage doesn't necessarily sell, either.

Oh, and as I also mention at my blog, this movie has one selling point now that it didn't have before: One of the main supporting characters -- a pupil at the Catholic school -- is played by Claire-Hope Ashitey, who now plays the miraculously pregnant refugee in Children of Men.

Links to similar Rwanda-genocide-themed films: Hotel Rwanda (2004); Shake Hands with the Devil (2007); we don't seem to have a thread for the Quebecois film Un dimance a Kigali / A Sunday in Kigali (2006).

#2 Darrel Manson

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 09:41 PM

The screenings will be starting soon in LA and NY. I'm looking at fitting it in the end of the month. Perhaps the question that strikes me most (and a sad question it is) is if another Rwanda film will tell us more. It's the same as each new holocaust film that come out. Are we ennured? Do we just say, been there, done that? Do we need it, but aren't willing to bother? Hmmm.

#3 Darrel Manson

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 11:00 PM

Saw it today. Without saying too much until next week, I will say that this is the spiritual version of the story. It includes scenes of both baptism and Eucharist. The Catholic priest gets all the good speeches -- although I suspect some will take issue of his explanation of the presence of Christ in the elements of the Eucharist.

#4 Darrel Manson

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:36 AM

My first review of the film. I'll explore another perspective on the film in one that's due up Friday.

BTW, it is up before it opens this week with the blessing (and encouragement) of the publicists.

Edited by Darrel Manson, 07 March 2007 - 10:36 AM.

#5 Denny Wayman

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 07:14 PM

Here is my review.

I agree that this is the spiritual/Christian side of the holocaust of 1994 in Rwanda. Interestingly it is written/directed as a tragedy. where as Hotel Rwanda was written/directed as a comedy - speaking only in their literary genre. The spiritual film is able to look the tragedy in the eye - and keep it there, just as we do when we put the cross at the center of our worship spaces.

I agree with Peter that the title originally given is not cynical and I would vote for it. The title reminds me of the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, though the subject matter is very different. The fact that

There are so many great quotes in the film which I didn't add in my review - but it would be a great film for a class in moral theology.


Edited by Denny Wayman, 09 March 2007 - 02:09 AM.

#6 Darrel Manson

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:14 AM

Sidebar item:

Canadian politics. PQ candidate gets in hot water over his view of the genocide