Saturday, October 01, 2005

Some Light Weekend Holocaust Denial

Shake Hands With The Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire
2004, Canada
Peter Raymont

As a film reviewer, especially one who uses cinema criticism to cloak experimentation in shock humor and self-indulgence, you often run into films that are problematic. A film you hate or a film you love is easy to review, but what's to be done with a film that just lies there, unmoving, like a hooker with a broken neck in a rented Motel 6 room? Sure, it’s an easy target for all manner of exploitation, but it’s just as easy to walk away from. And what of films that you just have nothing to say about? These endlessly repetitive jokes about internet pornography and racial stereotyping don’t write themselves, you know. They have to be coaxed out of the dark, fetid places they reside by a particular incensing movie. Shake Hands With The Devil is one of these difficult films to review, plus it’s about the Rwandan genocide, which makes it especially hard to crack wise about. Genocides in general are tricky, especially if they’re recent. Films like Schindler’s List, on the other hand, are easy. Just write a glowing review about the tear-jerking tragedy and powerful emotional center, then finish it off by stating that the film is far and away Speilberg’s best science fiction film. Afterwards, listen carefully for the ten people you made laugh amid the frenzied typing of 200 hate emails. But something like the Rwandan genocide, you have to tread carefully around. I don’t say this out of fear of being insensitive, but rather the very real threat of having my arms and legs hacked off by a rightfully livid Tutsi for making fun of his dead family. So, instead, I’ll focus on the one thing in this documentary that is inherently amusing, in a sad sort of way, which is that it deals with a massive and abominable slaughter of Africans through the eyes of a rich French Canadian in a fortified compound.

Next up: Celine Dion gives her opinion on the Armenian genocide.

I suppose the deaths of 900 000 Hutus at the hands of machete wielding militants is only striking when it’s seen through the perspective of General Romeo Dallaire, who spend the majority of the massacre writing angrily worded letters and bitching about Belgium while head of a UN Peacekeeping mission. After all, as we’ve learned from The Constant Gardener, only white people can save Africa from itself. I’m sure it was very heart-wrenching for Dallaire to have to watch all those people dying before his very eyes, but I’m not sure if his subsequent depression and anxiety is worthy of all this screen-time. I felt particularly scarred after watching an internet clip of a guy screwing up a base jump on Ebaum’s world, but I would hesitate before writing a book about my experiences, partially because anything I write inevitable devolves into tangential references to Hollow Earth Theory and the Thule Society, but mostly because it would be unfair to the poor fellow whose teeth came out of his head like he was throwing up three meals worth of blood and Tic Tacs. Hell, if Shake Hands With The Devil catches on, we might as well brace ourselves for a ABC movie-of-the-week about the tragic repercussions of watching Hurricane Katrina coverage, or perhaps Blinded By Booby: Superbowl XXXVIII and The Moral Decline of America.

Just seeing this makes me want to rape and kill and teach evolution.

Shake Hands With The Devil is well-made, coming off like an episode of The Passionate Eye crossed with Faces of Death, though, as it’s based on Dallaire’s book, it’s clearly his story. And his story is uninteresting. The genocide is a terrifying story, as is the UN’s refusal to involve itself until the situation was well out of hand, but Dallaire’s complaining isn’t. In fact, it’s insulting, like being told the history of the Holocaust by Hitler’s aesthetician. It’s not that Dallaire wasn’t a hero. He was, I suppose, and he did all he could and then some, but his story is not important. I want to learn about how such genocides can be prevented, not that if you watch people die you might get so depressed you fall back on a generous pension and several book deals. I'm sure he feels bad, but I can think of about 900 000 people who feel a whole lot worse. The last third of the film disregards the genocide and civil war altogether, focusing instead on Dallaire’s descent into depression, as evidence by his being arrested for public drunkenness after passing out on a park bench. If that’s a cry for help, then my entire graduating class must have been pretty suicidal after prom. While the events in Rwanda in 1994 are a terrifying and fascinating tale, Dallaire’s self-aggrandizing viewpoint is not, which is what ultimately sinks this film. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to work the script for my latest project, I Watched Two Police Officers Scrape A Dead Asian Guy Out Of An Elevator Shaft On The Internet , And Now I Can’t Eat Chinese Food Without Indigestion: The Ash Karreau Story.


Anonymous ainelivia said...

I had just watched Hotel Rwanda, a week before this documentary was shown. I can imagine that Dalliere did experience guilt and perhaps that was the cause of his depression. For me, this documentary filled in some of the background to the HR story. And that in itself, I'm glad of, because as I recall that time, there was little information coming out of Rwanda, though obviously the UN knew as did the govt's, the real extent of what was happenning.

5:40 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Yeah, I agree that the film fills in some background information, when viewed in context of other films, but this is not the story I'm interested in. I'm interested in what happened, like in Hotel Rwanda, or more accurately, Ghosts of Rwanda, or in how the world ignored it, but this film only addressed these issues in passing, as it told Dallaire's frankly uninteresting story.

8:12 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

This is about as far removed from the "genocide in Rwanda" theme or the letter writing skills of Gen. Romeo Dallaire but that 'dead hooker in Motal room' comment in paragraph one got me thinking about a joke I recently heard. Kiddies, avert your eyes.


What's the difference between a brand new yellow Ferrari and a dead hooker without any arms or legs, covered in blood and has semen in her mouth, vagina and ass?

I don't have a Ferrari in my garage.

4:20 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I love that joke, except when I heard it, it was about dead babies. You guys sure are weird in australia. For the record, my favorite dead baby joke is as follows:

What do you get when you put a baby in a blender?

An erection.


7:28 a.m.  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

All right, since we're going in the "sick" direction.

What makes a dead baby better than all other forms of life?

You can achieve "Deep Throat" from any direction.

12:24 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

The weirdness probably comes from being descendants of filthy convicts. Although there is something so very sad about the conservative government we have these days.

An eight year old boy and a paedophile are walking hand in hand down a dark forest. There's lightning and animal noises and such. The eight year old turns to the paedophile and says 'I'm scared.' The paedophile looks down to him and says 'You're scared? I have to walk back ALONE.'

12:31 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

That, my friend, has been my favorite joke of all time since I first heard it from the 6 year old I was about to throttle.

How quickly we've gone from genocide to dead baby jokes...

What's the difference between a dead baby and a rock?

You can't fuck a rock.

12:37 p.m.  
Anonymous CLK said...

Funny how dead baby jokes motivate me to end my longterm lurking:

What’s the difference between a pile of dead babies and a Ferrari?

I don't have a Ferrari in my garage.

1:25 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

WElcome to the awful, awful fun, CLK.

What's the difference between a pizza and a baby?

A pizza doesn't scream when you put it in the oven.

Wait, that joke wasn't supposed to be about babies...

1:30 p.m.  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

A woman is giving birth at the hospital.
The Doctor delivers the baby, holds it up, and then throws it against the wall as hard as he can.
He walks over, picks it up by a leg and beats it against the wall a couple of times.

Everyone in the delivery room looks at him horrified.

The Doctor looks at them and starts laughing "I'm just phuc-n with ya, it was already dead!"

1:52 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

How do you get a dead baby into a salsa bowl?

A Blender.

How do you get it out.


Hey, where the hell's Rin and Rin's Brother Robert. I thought they'd be all over this one.

11:32 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

...and more comedy of hate in the '16mm Shrine Open Mic. Night'

What's the first thing you do after you rape a deaf, dumb and blind woman?

You break her fingers so she can't tell anyone about it.

The Jokes maybe funny, the situation isn't.

11:38 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

How do you make a dead baby (or insert race of your choice) float?

Take your foot of its throat.

How you make a dead baby float (2)?

One dead baby and two scoops of ice cream.

I'm still waiting for things to heat up a little here before telling the really good ones. Fatman, you're on the right track.

9:20 a.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

What's two foot long, blue and makes a woman cry out in the morning?

Cot death.

What's the best thing about getting a handjob from a six-year old?

Your penis seems massive to them.

11:34 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

It's 'crib death' in the civilized world, Fatman.

How do you make a six-year old scream twice?

After you're done fucking them, wipe your dick on their teddy bear.

12:15 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

You say "potato", I say "cot death".

What's the difference between a rape victim and a light bulb?

You can unscrew a light bulb.

A guy calls in to work and says 'I can't come in to work today boss- I'm pretty sick.'
Boss says 'How sick are ya?' Guy replies 'Well, I'm having sex with the maggot-ridden corpse of my mother.'

4:31 a.m.  
Anonymous Rin's brother Robert said...

I was in Portugal.

How's Portugal like my three-year-old? They're both hot as fuck and have had me in them this week.

10:09 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Welcome back.

A little girl is standing by the edge of a cliff crying.
A man walks up to her and says, "What’s wrong little girl?"
The little girl points over to the edge of the cliff, where a car with the little girl’s parents inside burns on the rocks below.

The man turns around, unzips his fly and says, "I guess it just ain’t your lucky day!"

10:22 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

What's the difference between menstrual blood and sand?

You can't gargle sand.

A pair of co-joined twin sisters who are connected at the head decide to go out one evening to pick up. They're out drinking and dancing and they eventually start kissing a ( obviously quite intoxicated) guy. They eventually end up at the guy's home. 'Look,' slurrs the man 'I don't mind banging the shit out of the both of ya but what's the other sister going to do while I'm making sweet, sweet love with the alternate one?'. 'Oh don't worry,' they say in unison 'We brought an assortment of musical instruments so the other sister can play the (banjo, saxa-ma-phone, trumpet, etc.) while you're pleasuring Sister A or B ( names irrelavant).'

So the guy has marathon sex with one sister while the other one plays piano accordian etc. and they swap sides and repeats the sex act with the other one. A few months pass and the sisters return to the same town. 'We should call that guy that we both had sex with the last time we were in town.' says one sister. The other sister says, 'Do you think he'll remember us?'

11:42 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

What’s black and blue and doesn’t like sex?
The little boy in the basement of my house.

9:17 a.m.  
Anonymous Rin's brother Robert said...

What's black and blue and likes sex?

The little boy in the basement of my house.

9:49 a.m.  
Anonymous Rin's brother Robert said...

The Aristocats.

9:50 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

What's the best part about fucking a six year old girl?

When you're done, you can flip her open and pretend it's a six year old boy.

And it's not that I forgot you, it's just that your presence was never more sorely missed than in a mishmash of violent sex jokes.

11:07 a.m.  
Anonymous Rin said...

You can't hide on the Internet can you?

9:33 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

You can, but you have to turn into one of those homicidal electrical consciousnesses, like in Virtuosity or Ghost in the Machine. I'm halfway there.

11:00 p.m.  
Blogger Talya said...

Weeeh That´s just too much. I´m afroid I´m out of your league guys, but I definitely enjoyed the jokes.

Does that make me sick enough?

Guess not.

BTW, altought I have not seen the movie (big news, huh)it reminds me of "Amen" too much.

12:43 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What did the blind deaf-mute parapalegic boy get for Christmas?


1:04 p.m.  
Anonymous E. JACK YULATE said...


4:12 a.m.  
Anonymous THE SNEERING (homo-phobic) SNOB said...

i whole-heartedly agree that all little girls aged between 3 and 12 should be fucked, buggered, and sodomized on a regular basis, and half a pint of spunk should be spunked down their lushious young throats on a daily basis, "BECAUSE THATS THE SPECIFIC FUNCTION OF SIX YEAR OLD GIRLS, (TO BE FUCKED, AND BUGGERED AND SODOMIZED ON A DAILY BASIS, SOMETHING THAT SOCIETY IN GENERAL IS STILL (unfortunately) IN DENIAL ABOUT AFTER DECADES OF HAVING HAD THEIR MINDS POISONED WITH LIES, HYPOCRISY, CENSORSHIP, AND ABSURDITIES, IN THIS, "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION").

4:37 a.m.  

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