Movie Clip Discussions

Hotel Rwanda – (When All Seems Lost)

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2004, Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte and Joaquin Phoenix, PG-13

Main Point: When all seems lost and we feel hopeless, and we are looking for answers and direction, we can find it in God, through prayer.

Attention Grabber: Movie – Hotel Rwanda
In the midst of a civil war in Rwanda where the Hutu Militia are attempting to wipe out the entire race of Tutsis, Paul Rusesabagina [Rue-say-sa-bay-gee-nah], (the hotel manager of the Milles Colinne), played by Don Cheadle, becomes responsible for the lives of over 1200 Tutsi refugees from the war. It is a very similar theme to Schindler's List, only set in Africa. Although a very powerful and well-written movie, the movie may be too graphic for junior high or senior high students.

Clip: “These men are not here to help us.”
At approximately 52:47, about four and a half minutes into chapter 12, “We Think You’re Dirt,” is a movie clip you can use that helps set the mood for the seemingly hopeless situation in this part of the movie. In this scene the French-led coalition is evacuating all the “whites” from the hotel, leaving the hotel and the refuges virtually defenseless against the war raging around its walls. The scene ends at approximately 56:49.

Scene Introduction: Life can sometimes seem overwhelming. Homework is piling up, teachers are on your back, you missed the big shot last night, and your parents grounded you because your grades are slipping. The question is, what do we do in these times? How can we get through these times? We're going to watch a clip from the movie Hotel Rwanda. In the movie, there is a civil war going on in Rwanda between the two main tribes of people: the Hutu and the Tutsi. The Hutu soldiers and murdering the Tutsis everywhere. Right now, the military shows up, and the Tutsis are hopeful that they are there to help. Let's see what happens.


    Scene Script:
    (A radio reporter begins the scene.Eventually a priest, nuns, and orphans show up through the hotel gates. Only whites are allowed to leave however.)

    PRIEST: Wait! Hold the buses. (To soldier) Thank you for being here. Thank you very much. Thank you.

    SOLDIER: No Rwandans.

    PRIEST: What?

    SOLDIER: Foreign nationals only. Sorry, Father, those were the orders.

    PRIEST: But you can’t leave the children behind.

    SOLDIER: Sorry, Father, we have our orders.

    PRIEST: You can’t leave them!

    SOLDIER: We can do no more.

    PAUL: Father, it is of no use. These men are not here to help us. Please, there is nothing we can do. Get your people on the bus. I will take care of the others.

    PRIEST: But…but…

    PAUL: It is of no use Father. Please hurry.

    (The buses load up and drive away, and Dube comes out with an umbrella for Paul.)

END: 56:49

Transition Statement:
Sometimes things just seem overwhelming. The pressure gets too great, there's too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and it seems like the people around us just aren't coming through for us. Today let's spend some time in our small groups just focusing on what we're supposed to do in these times. Maybe there actually is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we get started, let's go around the circle and share your name and your least favorite food.
  2. ASK A FEW: In the clip you just saw, the Tutsi refugees from the civil war are left behind after all the whites, including the soldiers protecting them, leave. Have you ever had a time in your life where you needed someone to be there for you but they weren’t? How did that make you feel? Give one or two words that express that feeling.

  3. ASK A FEW: Often times in life it feels as if everything is on our shoulders. All the responsibility, all the pressures, all the expectations. How do you think Paul Rusesabagina (Hotel Manager) felt in this situation?

  4. ASK A FEW: When you get that feeling of everything coming in on you, what do you tend to normally do? (Possible answers: sleep, play a video/pc game, eat ice cream, get in a fight).

  5. Jesus is no stranger to this feeling of pressure. He felt pressure many times in his life and he had the same response every time–he turned to his Father, God, for help. Look at this example in the Garden of Gethsemane:

      Read Matthew 26:36-39

      Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

  6. ASK ONE OR TWO: In this verse it says Jesus “began to be sorrowful and troubled” and Jesus Himself says that His “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” What would He have been so sorrowful and troubled about?

  7. ASK ONE OR TWO: What was his response to this overwhelming feeling of depression? (“may this cup be taken from me”)

  8. Jesus knew the time was coming when the weight of the world was going to be held on His shoulders as He hung on a cross. It’s not that He didn’t want to save the world; that was His mission and He knew it—yet as the time drew nearer the pressure mounted and even Jesus needed help to refocus through prayer.

  9. AROUND THE CIRCLE: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being “every time I am in trouble or overwhelmed I pray,” and 1 being “I never even thought about praying during those times,” where would you rank yourself on turning to God in prayer during hard times?

  10. ASK A FEW: What factors do you think affect how soon you turn to God in prayer during tough times? (i.e. feeling close to Him, the people around you, mood you are in, etc.)

  11. ASK A FEW: What are some benefits of turning to God in prayer when things are not going right?

Jesus was able to endure the pain and sorrow that He was feeling and took the penalty for all the world’s sins by hanging on the cross because of His time “talking to God.” His time spent praying helped him to refocus on God and on what God was going to do through Him. Paul Rusesabagina also trudged through his feelings of despair and hopelessness and was miraculously able to save the lives of those 1200 refugees in his hotel. His faith in hard times led him to accomplish what seemed impossible.

God’s plan for you is the same, to use you in incredible ways beyond your wildest dreams! Prayer is the key to staying in touch with God and pulling through the hard times that often go on around us and try to drag us down. Create a plan to spend time with Him every day for a few minutes in prayer. Start out reasonably though. Commit to 3 times a week, then as that becomes a habit, move up to 4 and 5 times a week. Before you know it…you’ll find yourself spending every day praying—loving Him while He leads you!

Before we leave for today, let's get in pairs and just pray for each other. The best to start out a habit of prayer, is to start praying!

Written by Jamie Locklin


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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