Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire

Director: Peter Raymont

Institute History


Roméo Dallaire is a hero guided by compassion, and a man of tortured conscience. A career Canadian military man, Dallaire was the commander of the shamefully undermanned and undersupported United Nations peacekeeping mission stationed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Battling the world's indifference—and hoping in vain to stop Hutu from slaughtering Tutsi—Dallaire was forced in the end to stand by, without water, as an entire country set itself on fire.

Director Peter Raymont accompanies Dallaire as the general revisits the site of a failure not his own, but which clearly haunts him. With support, with men, with the authorization of the U.N., Dallaire might have stopped, stalled, or at least ameliorated the senseless slaughter that took place. That he could not do so has left him with a set of scars as deep as machete wounds.

Raymont gives us historical background on the tribal hatreds that ravished Rwanda, and an accounting of what has happened there during a decade's worth of healing. But what he gives us most richly is Dallaire himself, a man whose soul has been left tattered by the horrors he saw and might have prevented, and whose road to self-redemption is the most torturous journey he has ever undertaken.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]