Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

PBS Home Video presents
Ghosts of Rwanda (2004)

"We've got to recognize that each one of us...there's such a potential for good and there's such a potential for evil."
- Carl Wilkens, Adventist Church aid worker

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: May 11, 2005

Stars: Kofi Annan, Madeline Albright, Romeo Dallaire, Anthony Lake, Carl Wilkens, Philippe Gaillard
Director: Greg Barker

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic imagery of genocide)
Run Time: 01h:56m:21s
Release Date: May 10, 2005
UPC: 841887002011
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

I was reluctant to review this title. After writing a piece on Hotel Rwanda, I felt I had my fill of genocide. It's a topic that one does not want to endure on a consistent basis. Indeed, even talking about Terry George's film as a work of cinema was somewhat difficult. The issues addressed in such works go beyond cinematography, acting, sound, directing, and all the other technical aspects that formulate a film. Being an admirer of Frontline, I swallowed my reluctance and took Ghosts of Rwanda, an entry in PBS's long-running documentary series. My discomfort is a small price to pay to help this important piece gain more exposure.

Ghosts of Rwanda is a superb examination of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, during which nearly a million Tutsis were murdered by extremist Hutu militias and civilians. It was a massacre of massive proportions, and certainly not the first. The evil required to commit such an atrocity is unspeakable. We can deny the use of the term "evil" all we like, but what else can inspire such acts? I see no other explanation that fits. Innocents were slaughtered by guns, machetes, and hatred with dizzying speed. Unlike Hotel Rwanda, director Greg Barker's piece chooses to show these acts in gruesome detail.

This two-hour journey contains bone chilling stories that infuriate, move, frustrate, and horrify. These accounts come from reporters, diplomats, aid workers and others, including Gen. Romeo Dallaire. Leader of the UN Peacekeeping force in country during the genocide, his comments are frank, candid, and filled with the pain of what he experienced. Though his superiors in New York refused to offer support, Dallaire and his men stayed, creating safe havens, including the famed Hotel Des Milles Collines, the site of Paul Rusesabagina's bravery (Paul is not featured here). If they could not fight, Dallaire sought to negotiate a cease fire between the Hutus and the approaching Tutsi rebels. Upon meeting with the Hutu leaders, whose clothes were spattered with blood, he felt as though he was not meeting with human beings; he was face to face with evil. His efforts saw some level of success, but in the face of such death, they seemed futile. As a result, Dallaire stands a broken man (see Shake Hands With the Devil for more information).

The unwillingness to intervene on the part of the UN, the United States, and the world at large is a central focus here, and rightly so. Instead of sending the help that was so desperately needed, we were subjected to the absurdity of State Dept. spokesperson Christine Shelly debating the use of the term "genocide." Despite the pleas of Dallaire, Kofi Annan called for the avoidance of armed conflict at any cost, even when Dallaire was equipped to raid a Hutu arms cache. Annan and Madeline Albright offer their thin statements of reconciliation; hindsight is indeed 20/20. Frontline's list of horrendous acts unfortunately goes beyond the evil of the Hutu extremists; the world knew what was going on, and sinned by silence.

Even in the midst of such sadness, beams of heroism and deeds of goodness shine through: Adventist Church aid worker Carl Wilkens saved more than the entire US government; UN Captain Mbaye Diagne single-handedly saved hundreds of Tutsis through wit, charm and bravery; US Embassy workers smuggled out Tutsis, dubbing them honorary Americans, even as the Belgian forces withdrew with orders to only evacuate non-Rwandans; Red Cross representative Philippe Gaillard offers a story of life from death; two unarmed UN guards kept armed militia at bay, protecting a church filled with Tutsis; the list goes on.

Are they enough? At the very least, they are a testament to the power of the individual. It seems singular acts were the only thing that saved lives. When the wheels of bureaucracy are at their worst, we have an obligation to stand up. Then we can avoid hearing the empty, postmortem words of world leaders.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The documentary is presented in nonanamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen. I find this baffling. Wasn't this program shot in 16:9 for the purpose of HDTV transmission? The video is still very good, varying in quality due to a variety of source material.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is a clear Dolby 2.0 mix, but some noticeable squawks intrude on the track a few times; they sound like audio glitches. Strange.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra is a text screen pointing the viewer to Frontline's companion website. Chaptering is minimal, and there are no subtitles. I don't have a problem with a lack of extras, but I wish this had some subtitle/audio options for non-English viewers, making this accessible to as many people as possible.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

If you felt Hotel Rwanda was too sanitized, Frontline's superbly comprehensive documentary will fill in the gaps. This is the ideal companion piece. PBS's DVD is barebones, and somewhat lacking in quality. Don't let that stop you from seeing this important account of genocide, and the world's failure to act.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store