“One of the thousand hills”: thirty years later, return to the battered hills of Rwanda

“One of the thousand hills”: thirty years later, return to the battered hills of Rwanda

The story follows three periods: that of the genocide in 1994, evoked through stories and radio archives; the time of justice and the courts, in 2004, evoked in images and the time of resilience and attempts at reconciliation in 2022-2023. Three realities confronted as the 30th looms on the horizone anniversary of this terrible plunge into the hell of fratricidal hatred which caused the loss of a million people.

Filming the remains, the absence

In this powerful and necessary film, Bernard Bellefroid combines, through drawing, testimonies and evocations, the stories of the executioners and survivors of the genocide, in the heart of this small village.

The link established with the grandfather of the three children made the filmmaker want to return there to observe the work of time, his 2004 film having reopened a breach, demonstrating to what extent the trauma was still vivid and significant. “ This unforgivable crime touches my humanity and concerns us all,” underlines director Bernard Bellefroid.

The documentary, which he wrote and directed, aims to fight against the erasure of certain existences, the destruction of registers and graves being part of a deliberate strategy so that doubt sets in and forgetting is permitted. . Through this film, the director manages to bring Olivier, Fidéline and Fiacre, three children among thousands of others, to life by magnificently filming empty places, the remains of their house and absence.

Opting for justice and truth in Rwanda

Setting out to meet many villagers, the director questions the complex question of justice and forgiveness, two quests rooted in the heart of our humanity, ignoring neither the evasions of some nor the lies of others. If the partial reconstruction of certain acts or certain confrontations sometimes induce unease, the film nevertheless achieves the objective it set for itself: to honor the memory of these three children so that their story is emblematic of all stories, that the life on this hill speaks of all hills. A film that reminds us that we should never have to choose between justice and the truth.

Already presented in competition at the start of the school year as part of the Namur International French-speaking Film Festival (Fiff)the documentary is also visible as part of the Tournai Ramdam festival.

Karin Tshidimba