10 films to learn more about the genocide

The word “genocide” has fallen into popular vocabulary in recent years in the face of several controversial policies adopted in this COVID-19 pandemic period. But what exactly does genocide mean?

First created in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, the entry was associated with the Jewish, homosexual and black persecution that took place during World War II, with the rise of European Nazifascism led primarily by Adolf Hitler. The word refers to the act of systematic extermination of an ethnic group or any deliberate act aimed at exterminating a cultural aspect of extreme importance to a people.

It is clear that genocidal practices were not limited to the aforementioned period alone, but also to other eras in history, such as in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, in Turkey between 1915 and 1923, and in Rwanda between April and July 1994.

To help them better understand the concept of genocide and genocide, CinePOP has separated a short list of ten productions on the subject (whether or not they have been well received by international critics).

Discover our choices below:

Director: Elia Kazan

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Inspired by the life of her own uncle, Elia Kazan used a little-known cast to tell the story of a man who lives in a small village in Turkey as a member of the Greek minority. Faced with growing oppression from the Turks, he is sent to Constantinople, but dreams of visiting the United States and starting a new life.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Without a doubt, “Schindler’s List” is one of the most famous productions of all time – and one of the many masterpieces of the legendary Steven Spielberg. Bringing home no less than seven Oscar statuettes, the tale is set in the tragic time of the Holocaust and revolves around Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German businessman who went against the Nazi ideology of his country and saved more than 1000 Dutch Jewish refugees around the world. Second war.


Director: Roberto Benigni

While many associate the theme of genocide with powerful dramas or thoughtful documentaries, Roberto Benigni has proven that he can provide a unique perspective on the theme with the classic “A Vida É Bela”. Winner of three Oscar statuettes, the feature film centers on a father who uses his imagination to prevent his son from seeing the horrors of a concentration camp for Jews in which they are imprisoned.

Director: Atom Egoyan

The metalinguistic “Ararat” is probably a little-known title in the mainstream scene, but it deserves a place on our list. The story revolves around Edward Saroyan (Charles Aznavour), an Armenian-born filmmaker who is making a film about the tragic events of 1915, which resulted in the massacre of part of the Armenian people by the Turkish army. The making of this film ends up having a profound effect on the lives of two families. One of them, that of the young Raffi (David Alpay), who, on his return from Turkey, is detained at customs with boxes of film. The other, that of David (Christopher Plummer), the customs inspector responsible for questioning Raffi. As the boy faces a tumultuous relationship with his mother and foster sister, David is in a phase of reconciliation with his gay son and his lover, who works as an actor in Saroyan’s film.

Director: Terry George

In “Hotel Rwanda”, director Terry George opens the door to explanations of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The factual story stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo as Paul Rusesabagina and his wife, Tatiana, who saved their family life and a thousand other refugees by offering them shelter at the Hôtel des Mille Collines. Additionally, the feature film explores themes such as political corruption and the repercussions of violence – winning critical acclaim and three Oscar nominations.

Director: Rithy Panh

The award-winning documentary directed by Rithy Panh takes us back to the tense times of the Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. The image alone could not prove the genocide – but it would certainly get audiences thinking, thinking and writing the chapters. recent history. Pahn extensively searched the archives, ancient documents and rural areas of the country for the photo and ultimately decided to create it as a means of seeking an understanding that only cinema can provide.

Director: Terry George

As with his previous assault, George took advantage of his need to tell real stories to bring the feature film “The Promise” to life. Here the spotlight turns to Michael (Oscar Isaac), a young Armenian who dreams of studying medicine, but doesn’t have enough money to pay for his studies. After promising to marry a girl from the village himself, intending to receive the family’s dowry, he travels to Turkey and joins the course during the last months of the genocidal Ottoman Empire – ultimately falling in love with ‘an Armenian teacher who, through her instead, he has strong feelings for an American photographer.


Director: Niki Caro

Niki Caro has become known around the world for commissioning the live-action remake of Mulan. However, in the movements of her predecessor, she directed the biopic drama “The Warsaw Zoo”. Based on the life of Jan and Antonina Żabiński (played by Johan Heldenbergh and Jessica Chastain respectively), the film shows the couple’s efforts to hide hundreds of Polish Jews from Nazi Germans in the zoo where they lived.


Director: Angelina Jolie

In another of the countless works directed by Angelina Jolie, “First, they killed my father” takes us back to the Communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. After the genocidal government insurgency, little Loung Ung (Sareum Srey Moch) was forced to leave her home and go with her family to the countryside. Forced to live in a forced labor camp, she faces horror, hunger, fear and the threat of separation from her parents and siblings day after day.

Director: Jayro Bustamante

Alma (María Mercedes Coroy) and her children are murdered in the armed conflict in Guatemala. Thirty years later, criminal proceedings are brought against Enrique (Julio Diaz), a retired general who oversaw the genocide. But he is acquitted by a lawsuit and the spirit of La Llorona is unleashed to travel the world like a soul lost among the living. At night, Enrique begins to hear his complaint. His wife and daughter believe he has dementia attacks from Alzheimer’s disease. They could hardly suspect that their new housekeeper, Alma, was there to accomplish the vengeance that the trial failed to bring.

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