Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza to present two works
Kivu Ruhorahoza, an award-winning Rwandan filmmaker, presents two of his films at Bates College: 2015’s Things of the Aimless Wanderer at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29, and Ruhorahoza’s 2011 feature debut, Grey Matter, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.
Both screenings take place in Room G52, the Keck Classroom, in Pettengill Hall, 4 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk). Sponsored by the French and francophone studies department at Bates, the screenings are open to the public at no cost. For more information, please call 207-786-8293.
Ruhorahoza’s second feature film, Things of the Aimless Wanderer comprises a series of cryptic and loosely connected narrative shards. Each depicts an uneasy encounter between an African woman and a male figure of authority or menace, be it a 19th-century white explorer, a 21st-century Western journalist or a Rwandan man performing reconnaissance for a shadowy internal agency.
In each story, a female figure is an object of lust, surveillance, fascination or violence, inevitably disappearing from the narrative. Every disappearance becomes a sort of chorus, punctuated by enigmatic images and haunting musical soundscapes.
Grey Matter is the first feature-length narrative film produced in Rwanda by a native Rwandan filmmaker. Set in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, this self-referential film-within-a-film depicts the vision and trials of a determined filmmaker as he tries to produce his first feature, The Cycle of the Cockroach.
That trenchant drama about a brother and sister dealing with the aftermath of genocide finds no support from agencies only interested in funding upbeat policy-friendly films. As the filmmaker borrows recklessly from a loan shark, Cycle plays out on the screen, subtly measuring the horror and systematic madness of events hardly unique to Rwanda, while offering insight into the nature of political violence.
Ruhorahoza was born in Kigali in 1982. A self-taught filmmaker, he won the award for Best African Short at Montreal’s 25th Pan African International Film Festival and Best Short at the Kenya International Film Festival in 2009 for his short film Lost in the South.
Slant Magazine observed that Ruhorahoza employs film to “communicate the unthinkable consequences of mass tragedy” — the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Grey Matter received a Jury Special Mention for Best Emerging Filmmaker and won the Best Actor award at the 2011 TriBeCa Film Festival. The film went on to win, among other honors, the Grand Prize at the Tübingen French Film Festival; Best Director and Signis Award at the Cordoba African Film Festival; and the Jury Prize at the Khouribga African Film Festival.
Ruhorahoza has taught directing and screenwriting workshops for various organizations and has served as a mentor at the TriBeCa Film Institute for underprivileged aspiring filmmakers from New York.