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Movie inspired by fra Vjeko's story
Thursday, 12 April 2007 Written by fra Ivica Perić

fra Vjeko CuricThere is a movie inspired by fra Vjeko’s story. This one has two titles--for America it is “Beyond The Gates” and for Europe “Shooting Dogs”. The story is situated in the suburbs of Kigali. The writer and producer of the movie is David Belton. David visited Kivumu where I had an opportunity to meet him. That was in 2003. Actually there are two script writers of this movie -- Richard Alwyn and David Belton. They are journalists who worked as BBC reporters. Here are some extracts from what they wrote and published on Internet about Father Vjeko “For several days Belton and his team were sheltered by a Bosnian priest called Vjeko Curic.

On several occasions Curic protected the Newslnight team from the extremist Hutu government which was becoming increasingly suspicious of their presence. At one roadblock where the team was held at gunpoint by drunken militia, Curic intervened and almost certainly saved their lives.

Curic was one of only two non-African priests who stayed in Rwanda throughout the genocide. But it was only on their last night with Curic that the priest confided in them that he was sheltering many Tutsis from the militia and had secretly been ferrying them out of the country in the bottom of his lorry. Here’s what Belton says: "We sat in his little kitchen drinking whisky late at night and he told us what he had been doing since the genocide started. It was an extraordinarily brave and typically selfless act by Vjeko. He was a magnetic character and we all felt completely humbled by him."

Several years passed before Belton heard that Curic had been murdered in Kigali by unknown assailants: "I was sitting in a bar in Washington reminiscing with Tom Carver who was with me in Rwanda. It's true we had drunk a couple of beers but we both found ourselves crying as we talked about what we had witnessed. And crucially, we both admitted that we hadn't done enough.”

So fra Vjeko became an inspiration for a movie plot. Personally I think that movie is very good. Putting together all the different stories that I hear about Vjeko here in Rwanda and from my own personal acquaintance with him, I think the movie shows the situation in a very realistic way. Even the father Christopher character is well done. Father Vjeko lived for these people and got killed by them. So the message of the movie is strong and well developed.

The story is real, even though Father Christopher never existed. The story takes place in the parish and school of Kicukiro and this school actually exists. Both parish and school were run by the Salesians until 2004 when they were handed over to the diocese. In Rwanda we have two Croatian Salesians. They were also parish priests there. Don Danko Litric was a parish priest from 1986.-1990. From 1990 to 1991 the parish priest was another Croat called don Sebastian Markovic. When the genocide started those two were in Musha parish 40 km east from Kigali.

On 11th of April Belgian solders and Salesinas left the place and all who remained there have been killed.

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