Deepa Mehta's Earth (1998) deals with the 1947 partition of India, and Terry George's Hotel Rwanda (2004) concerns the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Earth depicts violence through two sets of looks that are exchanged between the main characters and us. Hotel Rwanda depicts it through three motifs that utilize dark visuals, white spaces, and repeated images. In Earth, the first set of looks are those of horror and despair in the gang violence scene; in Hotel Rwanda, the first motif is that of witnessing, as seen in the mass grave sequence. In Earth, the second set of looks involves fear and betrayal in the scene in which Ayah is dragged off to be gang raped and brutalized; in Hotel Rwanda the second motif is the betrayal pictured in the foreigners' evacuation sequence. The third motif in Hotel Rwanda is compassion, as revealed in the bribing sequence. Overall, Earth is less successful in educating about violence and more successful in generating voyeuristic pleasure, whereas Hotel Rwanda avoids overt voyeurism, relies on the audiences' powers of imagination, and conveys how individuals and groups can respond to genocide.


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pp. 10-27
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