The Roadblock Scene : Director's Notes, Shooting Set-Ups & Final Shots.
Scene 80 - Description
The school truck carries Joe and two TV journalists through the deserted Kigali streets towards the ETO. They are stopped at a roadblock, which is manned by Interahamwe militia, and the terrifying lawlessness of the genocide becomes apparent.
As a director, the first thing you need to do is figure out what it is you are trying to say with a scene. This does not mean dialogue. In its simplest form, every scene is a part of a larger story and it has to play its part in the furthering of that story. ALL scenes must fulfill that primary function with no exceptions.
In scene 80 there were 2 main aspects for me to consider: Character needs and story needs
A. One thread in the larger story was the emotional journey of Joe (Hugh Dancy) from wide-eyed idealist to guilt-ridden survivor. This scene was important in regard to his character because it marked the point in his journey that he crossed over into territory that was beyond his, or indeed anyone else’s, experience and comprehension.
B. This was a significant scene in terms of the audience’s knowledge of what was happening outside the confines of the ETO compound. The contrast had to be made between the atmosphere on the streets and the relative safety of the school. It was important to convey three things:
The idea that danger was omnipresent.
The casual and sudden unpredictability of violence.
To give that danger a face (as the Interahamwe turn up at ETO immediately after this)
Once you have decided what you want to say the next stage is working out HOW these ideas take physical form.
In this sketch, Michael constructs a general overview of the structure of the roadblock scene. He has deconstructed the scene into 5 distinct sequences of action, Parts A-E. The diagram in the bottom-left corner fo the sketch describes the general movement of the characters within the scene.
Sketch No.2 : Parts A & B
This sketch provides more detail about the individual shots that will make up Part A (the travelling of the truck along the dirt track) & Part B (the stopping of the truck where Joe and his fellow passengers are yanked out of the truck by the interahamwe).
Each shot is listed in the column on the right-hand side whilst the diagrams on the left describe the movement of the characters along with the positioning and direction of the cameras.
By clicking on the link below, you can see how the final shots of each sequence came out.
This sketch provides a breakdown of each of the shots that will make up Part C (where tensions rise between Joe, Rachel, Mark and the interahamwe and where Joe witnesses a Tutsi murder at the roadside), and Part D/E (where Joe recognises one of the interahamwe and where Joe, Mark & Rachel eventually escape the situation.)
Again, each shot is numbered in the columns, and the movement of the characters and positioning/direction of the cameras is depicted in the diagrams.
Click on the links below to see how the final shots came out.
Tomorrow we will be posting comments from other cast & crew members about their personal experiences on shooting this particular scene.