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Film / Sometimes in April

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Sometimes in April is a 2005 HBO historical drama film about the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, written and directed by the Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck. The ensemble cast includes Idris Elba, Oris Erhuero, Carole Karemera, Debra Winger, Noah Emmerich, and Pamela Novemte.

The story centers around two Hutu brothers: Honoré Butera (Erhuero), who worked for the local Radio station and is currently on trial for war crimes during the genocide, and Augustin Muganza (Elba), a former captain of the Rwandan military, a husband, and father of three children. The film flashback to from the past chronicling the events before, during, and after the genocide to the present where Augustin is visiting his brother to inquire the fate of his family.


Tropes used in the film:

  • Adult Fear Augustin goes to the boarding school that his daughter, Anne-Marie, attended only to find out that she was killed. He also learns from his brother that his two sons, Yves-André and Marcus, along with his wife, Jeanne, and her sister, Félicie, were killed shortly after he parted ways from them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Augustin's family and his Tutsi-sympathizer best friend, Xavier, were killed and his brother is imprisoned for war crime but he has found love again and his girlfriend, Martine (who was a teacher at his daughters boarding school) is pregnant. The film ends with Martine testifying against the perpetrators who massacred her students including Augustin’s daughter
  • Category Traitor: Augustin has to separate from his wife and two sons and entrust them in the care of his brothers is because he is marked for death by Hutu extremists.
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  • Driven to Suicide Augustin's wife Jeanne commits suicide with a grenade after being raped by soldiers, taking some of them with her.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Hotel Rwanda, which is PG-13 and subtly implies the violence and this film were the violence is shown and is given a TV-MA (an equivalent to film's Rated R).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jeanne, after soldiers gang-rape her and several other women, gets hold of a grenade and holds the soldiers and complicit priest hostage to allow the other women to escape before she pulls the pin and kills herself and probably most of her rapists.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When the militants arrive at the boarding school the girls, including Augustin’s daughter Anne-Marie, all agree not to separate from each other to distinguish between Hutu and Tutsi. Martine, shocked, warns them of the consequences of their actions and almost all of them are killed. Anne-Marie later dies of her injuries.
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  • Rape as Drama: On scene involves a woman testifying in court about a priest who let soldiers gang rape her and numerous other women and girls who had been entrusted to him, in the presence of her infant son. This is also the horrific fate that Jeanne had to endure before committing suicide.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Augustin during the genocide. See the tropes above for more details.
  • You Monster!: Inverted as Martine tells her frightened students, including Anne-Marie, to go to their dormitories and the boarding school's priest tells her that they are in a difficult position but they must do their duty; they must not harbor rebels. Shocked, Martine calls him out, pointing out that these are not rebels but students whom he promised to protect, but he shuts her down, pointing out that they cannot protect all the girls and that he does not have the power to change the situation. As a stunned Martine leaves, he tells her, "We must pray."

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