Set Components as a Modern Narrative: A Study of Selected Feature Fiction Films on the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Dusabe, Roger Philbert
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This study aims at making meaning of set components in historical fiction films on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The argument is that when it comes to historical feature films, emphasis tends to be put on the general theme that the films tackles, highlighting the major turning points of the depicted historical events at the expense of the world the event is set in. The research also adopts the idea that a society relates fully and retains knowledge of an event that happened long time ago, through understanding the conditions surrounding the event in question. This study strives to establish the validity of element of fiction films as historical sources by establishing the relationship between set components and the narrative structure in the selected films; describing the signs of historicity in the selected films using set components; and examining the sociopolitical and economic function of set components from selected films in the filmic depiction of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The study sampled films on the Genocide against the Tutsi that are feature and fiction due to the type of desired data. Making meaning of how style and technique are used to express the artist’s idea in film is the ultimate purpose of this study, a formalist approach guides the textual analysis and interpretation of the films selected which are Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda (2004), Michael Caton-Jones’ Shooting Dogs (2005), Raoul Peck’s Sometimes in April (2005), and Philippe Van Leeuw’s The Day God Walked Away (2009). The study finds that set components fulfill three (3) functions. The first is the role set components play towards highlighting other elements of the same artwork. The second function which is much larger is the specific role set components fulfill towards the artwork’s general themes and as a whole. The third function steps outside the artwork and involves the viewers as set components find meaning assigned to them in relation to the viewing audience in a certain context. The study argues the importance attached to accuracy in film and contextualizes the impact of anachronisms vis-a-vis the intended meaning.