Sweet dreams

2014 marks 20 year since the Rwandan genocide. Reconciliation has been difficult. In 1994 from April and July, the Hutu population killed between 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis. Sweet dreams is a documentary about Rwandan all-female drumming troupe named Ingoma Nshya. Founded by Kiki Katese, the troupe welcomes women who were victims and saw their families killed, but also those who saw their husbands or parents put in prison for these horrific crimes. You can tell by the smiles on their faces that drumming is not only a liberating experience for those women; it saved their lives. On a trip to New York Kiki met Blue Marble Ice Cream owners Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen, and brings back to the troupe the idea of starting an ice cream parlor. Ice cream is virtually unknown in Rwanda (a man in the film calls it “crème glacée” – the French name). The parlor would be named Inzozi Nziza (meaning “Sweet Dreams” in Kinyarwanda). The women’s difficulties are numerous. Not all of them can be chosen for work at first. Some who are not are heart-broken. And will the ice cream machine work in time for the opening of the parlor? The directors, siblings Lisa and Rob Fruchtman, also interview the women about their ordeals during the genocide. We see the sadness and feel their pain. One stunning moment happens during a speech by President Paul Kagame at the 2011 memorial. We can hear the painful screams and see some of the people gathered together in the stadium being carried to ambulances, fainting or walking outside, lying on lawns and chairs, catching their breath with loved ones by their sides. Painful memories. Devastation everywhere. It is a lesson then to see, after all they’ve been through, the women of Ingoma Nshya joyfully drumming together. Or joyfully selling ice cream at the Inzozi Nziza parlor where the slogan is “Ice Cream. Coffee. Dreams”. Those beautiful, beautiful women full of dreams.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


 Sweet dreams

Directed by: 
Lisa Fruchtman
Rob Fruchtman
84 min.
Rated Parental Guidance
In Kinyarwanda and English with English subtitles.

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