In Rwanda we say… The family that does not speak dies

In Rwanda we say… The family that does not speak dies

  • The next chapter in a fascinating and intimate look at how, and whether, people can overcome fear, hatred and deep emotional scars, to forge a common future after genocide. The second film in the Gacaca Trilogy returns two years later as thousands of untried suspects are released.
  • Emmy Award-Winner 2003

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Since 1999, award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion has traveled to rural Rwanda, to chart the impact of that country’s efforts at ethnic reconciliation. In Rwanda we say… The family that does not speak dies, her second film on the subject, continues Aghion’s quest to learn how the human spirit survives a trauma as unfathomable as the attempt, in 1994, to wipe out the Tutsi minority, with 800,000 lives claimed in 100 days. In Rwanda we say… is the next chapter in a fascinating and intimate look at how, and whether, people can overcome fear, hatred and deep emotional scars, to forge a common future after genocide.

Aghion’s influential 2002 film, Gacaca, Living Together Again in Rwanda? captured the feelings of both survivors and alleged killers in the remote community of Ntongwe, just as the government was announcing the Gacaca (ga-CHA-cha), a new system of citizen-based justice intended to handle over 100,000 genocide suspects languishing in detention. In Rwanda we say…returns two years later as close to 16,000 of these suspects, still untried, are released across the country: having confessed to their crimes, and served the maximum sentence the Gacaca will eventually impose, suspects of appalling crimes are sent home to plow fields and fetch water alongside the people they are accused of victimizing.

In Rwanda we say… focuses on the release of one suspect, and the effect of his return on this tiny hillside hamlet. While the government’s message of a “united Rwandan family” infiltrates the language of the community, reactions to this imposed co-existence reel from numb acceptance to repressed rage. Violence seems to lurk just below the surface. What unfolds, however, is an astonishing testament to the liberating power of speech: little by little, people begin to talk in a profound and articulate way – first to the camera, and then to each other — as these neighbors negotiate the emotional task of accepting life side by side.

Film Credits:

  • Director: Anne Aghion
  • Producers: Laurent Bocahut, Anne Aghion
  • Editor: Nadia Ben Rachid
  • Photography: Claire Bailly du Bois, James Kakwerere
  • Sound Recordist: Richard Fleming
  • Sound Editor: Dolorès Jordi
  • Sound Mixer: Yves Servagent
  • Production Manager: Benoit Gryspeerdt
  • Translation / Interpretation: Jean Pierre Sagahutu, Aubert Ruzigandekwe, Assumpta Mugiraneza, Pauline Ligtenberg-Mukabalisa, Jean Damascène Bizimana, Charles Rukikanshuro, Joseph Binego

Produced with support from: