Directed by Lee Isaac Chung
Rwanda | USA 200
7

 

After stealing a machete from a market in Kigali, Munyurangabo and his friend, Sangwa, leave the city on a journey tied to their pasts. Munyurangabo wants justice for his parents who were killed in the genocide, and Sangwa wants to visit the home he deserted years ago. Though they plan to visit Sangwa s home for just a few hours, the boys stay for several days. From two separate tribes, their friendship is tested when Sangwa s wary parents disapprove of Munyurangabo, warning that Hutus and Tutsis are supposed to be enemies.
 

****


Perhaps the best way to approach a subject of bewildering complexity is with simplicity. “Munyurangabo” considers the genocide in Rwanda entirely through the lives of two boys who are 10 or 11 years old. They are not symbols. They are simply boys who have been surviving on their own in a big city but are not toughened and essentially good. That’s all.

Its story involves one of those miracles that can illuminate the cinema. It was directed by Lee Isaac Chung, 30, a first-generation Korean-American who grew up on a small farm in rural Arkansas. It was shot on location in Rwanda in two weeks. It involved only local actors. It is the first film in the Kinyarwanda language (with few, excellent and easy-to-read subtitles). It is in every frame a beautiful and powerful film — a masterpiece.


[...]
 

“Munyurangabo” played in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes 2007, where Variety’s Robert Koehler called it, “flat-out, the discovery of this year’s batch.” It won the grand jury prize at the AFI Film Festival. The Tomatometer stands at 100. If it seems like I’m trying to persuade you about this film, I am.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

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Theatrical Release: May 24th, 2007 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: Film Movement - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Film Movement - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:17:39 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.97 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Kinyarwanda (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Film Movement

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Biographies (text pages)

• Short: Alptraum (3:03)
• Short: The Race (1:01)
• About Film Movement

DVD Release Date: October 6th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

I'm getting quite tired of Film Movement DVDs. Once again we have a modern masterpiece film - treated to a lackluster DVD transfer.

This disc which exhibits combing from an interlaced transfer on a 4.28 Gig single-layered DVD is following Film Movement's other digital efforts - meaning that it's a great film but the transfer limitations are not doing it appropriate justice. Because of the pragmatic transfer there are visible artifacts disturbing Munyurangabo which frequently looks quite hazy. Colors are far duller than they should be and this is a film I'd LOVE to see in the glory of 1080P resolution.  It's only viable positive is the 16X9 enhancement. Subtitles are a intrusive bright yellow but are removable.

The audio is 2.0 channel in original Kinyarwanda. It's has minimalist dialogue that, for the most part, is clear and audible.  Film Movement have once again added 2 shorts . This Lüscher's 3-minute AlpTraum from 2008 is the "Short Feature of the Month" and we still have the shorter, Stella Artois sponsored "The Race". While they fill some disc space with text biographies, a trailer and an advert for other Film Movement DVDs. 

I have to admit - despite my disgruntled attitude towards Film Movement - I was so very pleased to see this film. The limitations of interlacing, single-layering artifacts, plus the extravagant price for what they offer digitally, are very discouraging though but I don't see it available in any other versions (English-friendly) anywhere else in the world. If you didn't catch this on the Festival circuit this appears your own avenue to watch Munyurangabo - which as a film has our highest recommendation - while the DVD remains an expected digital disappointment.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Combing visible (interlaced transfer)
 

 

 


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Distribution Film Movement - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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