Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Review: Deborah Scranton’s Earth Made Of Glass

“Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass” these are the words by American Poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson that introduces the documentary “Earth Made of Glass”. This is an interesting way to introduce a film. Does it denotes the transparency of the world or does it imply when someone is wronged, the truth will be easy to find? Does it mean, fragility of the world is apparent when someone is wronged? Either way the subject matter of “Earth Made of Glass” is apt to above statement.

The film is set in Rwanda and is a look back at the genocide of the Tutsi by the Hutu and the French in 1994. This is set as a journey of one man named Jean Pierre Sagahutu, a man haunted by the death of his father during the occupation. His fifteen year search for an clues or the whereabouts of his father’s murderers. It is also the story of the current aide to the President of Rwanda, Rose Kabuye, being charged and held in France for terrorism and warcrimes. She was once the leader of a Tutsi militia group.

Whether or not her detainment was constitutional, the film presents her case as wrongful. As a way to shed a bad light onto the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. Locked away in France, far away from her children back, Kabuye, fights for her freedom.

The emotional aspect of the film comes from the Sagahutu storyline. His search is noble and true. Willing to do anything to find any information on his father’s death is heartbreaking. Wanting to show his son that his grandfather died in a random act of violence is an injustice. When Sagahutu is, quite literally, sitting next to, what could possibly be his father’s murderer, is a chilling reminder of how evil man can truly be to his fellow man.

“Earth Made of Glass” is an engaging, informative and heartbreaking display of filmmaking. I was introduced to a world, that as an American, I had no idea existed or who’s history is one of tragedy. Its message of hope and justice is effective as we are all the same in this earth made of glass.

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