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‘Petit Pays’ film premieres in Kigali

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AFP 09 MAR 2020

The film “Petit Pays”, based on a novel by French-Rwandan Gaël Faye has been premiered in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

It was an emotionally-charged screening for the French-Rwandan who grew up in Burundi. Part of his family is originally from Rwanda.

Exile, friendships and families torn apart by ethnic tensions, the film, tells the carefree daily life of 10-year-old Gabriel, the son of a Franco-Rwandan couple in the early 1990s in Bujumbura.

The whole point of the film was to manage to recreate, so to say, Bujumbura, here (in Rwanda).

“I would have never have imagined that this story could reach so many readers, that it could be translated into more than forty languages around the world and, above all, that it could be made into a film. And this film, especially, to be able to shoot it here in Rwanda with Rwandan actors, Burundian actors and Congolese actors, so it’s really a story that belongs to us”, Gaël Faye said.

Published in 2016, the novel which means ‘‘small country” was a huge success right from the start. It won several literary prizes and has since been translated into nearly 40 languages.

The film, shot in Rwanda, was shown in three theatres packed to capacity in the city’s only cinema. In addition to Gaël Faye and his wife, the film’s director, Eric Barbier was also present.

“The whole point of the film was to manage to recreate, so to say, Bujumbura, here (in Rwanda), to find a certain atmosphere, a certain universe that corresponded to Gaël’s book”, Barbier said.

The 5 million euro film was shot entirely in Rwanda, mainly in the Gisenyi region near the Democratic Republic of Congo. The film is scheduled for release in France on March 18.

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