“The film is part therapeutic personal exorcism and part passionate humanitarian indictment. Raymont’s documentary uses the lingering trauma of one man as a way of opening on larger questions of global indifference and responsibility”
– Geoff Pevere, TORONTO STAR
“A fascinating portrait of a man broken both by the horror of Rwanda and his inability to stop the genocide. The emotional tone is pure ghost story”
– Cameron Bailey, NOW MAGAZINE
“Peter Raymont’s docu “Shake Hands With the Devil” emerges as one of strongest films at the Toronto International Film Festival, returning in graphic, painstaking detail to the scene of the carnage in the company of the man who had been charged with preventing it. It is almost possible to smell the stench of rotting flesh in the country’s streets.”
– Scott Foundas, VARIETY
In 100 days – between April 6 and July 16, 1994 – an estimated 800,000 men, women and children were brutally killed in the obscure African country of Rwanda. The victims – many horrifically hacked to death with machetes – were Tutsi, and the moderate Hutus who supported them.
Canadian Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire was mandated by the UN with keeping that peace, but unsupported by the Security Council, his soldiers were unable to stop the genocide. After ten years of mental torture and more than once attempting suicide, Roméo Dallaire poured out his soul in an extraordinary book.
Shake Hands With The Devil is a cri de coeur. In it, the General pulled no punches in his condemnation of top UN officials, expedient Belgian policy makers and senior Clinton administration officials who chose to do nothing as Dallaire pleaded for help.
Dallaire is convinced that, with a few thousand more troops and a mandate to act pre-emptively, he could have stopped the killings. His impotence, at a time of extreme crisis, preys on his conscience still. In April 2004 – the 10th anniversary of the genocide, Dallaire revisits the killing fields that haunt him. This documentary chronicles that visit.
Produced by White Pine Pictures in association with The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Société Radio Canada, with the financial participation of The Rogers Documentary Fund, The Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit, The Canadian Television Fund