Ahead of the UK premiere of Milo Rau’s new performance Five Easy Pieces, we present two films by the artist. Exploring the dying moments of communism in Romania in 1989, and the brutal genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994, these complex and thought-provoking reconstructions of historical events explore the role of the individual at moments of societal breakdown, when violence engulfs nations and people become truly performers on the stage of history.
The Last Days of the Ceauşescus
Dir Milo Rau, Marcel Bächtiger/CH DE RO 2010/50 mins/ Romanian wEng ST
The images of the condemnation and execution of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena on Christmas Day in 1989 are etched deeply in the collective unconscious of several generations of television viewers. Exactly 20 years after its occurrence, the famous show trial was re-enacted in a historically reproduced setting. The film interweaves the stage production with interviews conducted with eyewitnesses and archive material, and takes a look backstage in the Odeon Theatre in Bucharest.
Dir Milo Rau/DE 2011/50 mins/ French and Kinyarwanda wEng ST
Afazali Dewaele, Sébastien Foucault, Dorcy Rugamba, Estelle Marion, Nancy Nkusi
The film Hate Radio, based on Milo Rau’s performance piece of the same name, explores the role of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) as an instrument of the Rwandan genocide. The program of this popular station consisted of pop music, sports coverage, political communiqués, and hate-filled calls to murder. The project Hate Radio reconstructs an RTLM broadcast, based on documents and witness statements, which were selected and arranged by the author and director Milo Rau. The broadcast is performed in a replica of the original radio studio. Several of the actors playing the roles of the radio broadcasters are themselves survivors of the genocide in Rwanda.