Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Set in post-genocide Rwanda, A Love Letter To My Country follows the burgeoning romance between a Tutsi girl and Hutu man, whose lives have undergone vastly different changes as a result of the senseless mass murder. After a particularly impassioned performance in the local choir, Martha is singled out by choirmaster Rukundo, who hopes to get to know her better through a series of dates. When the couple finally get a chance to talk intimately, each reveals their background. Martha has lost almost all of her family to the genocide, while Rukundo was a conscientious objector to his family’s participation in the murders. The relationship endures tribulations as the pair’s families revive old prejudices.

The strength in the film is in not revealing the differences between Martha and Rukundo immediately – on face value, the two are able to get along without issue. Themes of unity prevail throughout the film, although often these are presented as illusions, and the open ending serves only to suggest that there are still repercussions of discrimination. The film is utterly absorbing at moments – some great acting in the scene where Rukundo’s family express their distrust of Tutsi makes for compelling viewing – but there are several flaws which keep the film from achieving its goal fully. Martha and Rukundo’s relationship happens quicker than the audience can fathom, and the film suffers from a few distracting technical shortcomings. Nonetheless, A Love Letter To My Country has great intentions and hopefully augurs well for the Rwandan film industry.

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