Le jour où Dieu est parti en voyage
France/Belgium, 2009, 100 minutes
Mon, May 03 / 6:45 / Clay / DAYG03Y
Tue, May 04 / 4:00 / Kabuki / DAYG04K
Wed, May 05 / 4:15 / Kabuki / DAYG05K
This lushly photographed film opens on an idyll of children, white and black, playing by a forest waterfall. But paradise swiftly turns to hell—more precisely, Rwanda, 1994—as screams signal the arrival of genocide. Jacqueline, a Tutsi mother of two of the children, works for a Belgian family in Kigali. The family flees the machete-bearing Hutu thugs, but they can’t protect Jacqueline—they leave her to hide in the attic while looters strip the house bare. Eventually, Jacqueline ventures out to search for her children and takes refuge in the tall grass near a pond, hiding from the voices that boast of raping and hacking up their victims. There, Jacqueline encounters a wounded man and nurses him back to health, but as he grows stronger her spirit undergoes a disturbing transformation. Alternately terrifying and lyrical, this psychological study of the effects of a holocaust on a young woman is a powerful departure from previous cinematic treatments of heroism and white guilt coming out of the Rwandan genocide. Singer and survivor Ruth Nirere’s extraordinary performance strips Jacqueline down to the core of what it means to be a human being threatened with elimination. In his directorial debut, Philippe van Leeuw creates a complex portrait that is rich and immersive, much like the muddy soil that keeps inviting Jacqueline to bury herself.
Presented in association with Museum of the African Diaspora. New Directors Prize Contender. U.S. Premiere.