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Sarah Vanagt, Begin, Began, Begun, 2004. Photo by Brain Slater.

Begin, Began, Begun (2004)

Filmmaker Sarah Vanagt spent Easter 2004 in a 'children's republic', governed by genocide orphans and refugee children growing up in the war-torn border zone between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. April is the month of mourning in the new Rwandan calendar, but while the country commemorated the tenth anniversary of the genocide, children played games.

The events of the genocide are slowly receding and the director studied the first generation of 'new kids', who grow up without direct memories of it. "The children play border patrols. They listen to a news bulletin transmitted through a transistor radio cut out of plants. They build a miniature world with automobiles, televisions and advertising, with white jeeps and blue helmets, with elections and bedraggled dolls that they bury and dig up again.

Naturally, the game is not just about imitation. Play is enlargement, repetition, fantasy, trying things out, trying - within given rules - to turn a situation your way, a way, in short, to get a handle on that other world, that world full of paradox, that world still struggling with itself and still governed by memory" (Frank van Vree).