Kivu Ruhorahoza by Liza Béar

Grey Matter, the first feature film made by a Rwandan living in Rwanda, is a film-within-a-film. The character, Balthazar is trying to make a film, The Cycle of the Cockroach, about brother-sister characters coping with the trauma of the Rwandan genocide. It’s a haunting, skillful blend of metaphor, reality, hallucination and nightmare.

In the second part of the interview, Ruhorahoza discusses the origins of Grey Matter and how—still haunted by the 1994 atrocities—the story elements came together in the aftermath of genocide, 15 years later. “It’s the story of two siblings losing their parents,” he says, “and of a militia man who was involved in the massacre of those parents.” The film, written and directed by 28-year-old Kivu Ruhorahoza, won a Special Jury Mention at the Tribeca Film Festival in the Best New Narrative Director category and a Best Actor award for Shami Bizimana as Yvan, the mad brother.

Filmed by Liza Béar on April 28th during the Tribeca Film Festival 2011, in which Grey Matter had its world premiere. Interview location courtesy East of Eighth, West 23rd St, Chelsea.

Liza Béar is a contributing editor at BOMB.

Chris Abani by Colm Tóibín
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