DIFF Review: Rising From Ashes


Director:T.C. Johnstone

Cast:Jock Boyer, Forrest Whitaker

Running Time:140.00


On the surface, Rising from Ashes is a film following the recreation of the Rwandan cycling team after the genocide in the '90s decimated the country. Underneath that story is a veritable flood of underlying emotions and stories for this film to tell. Each cyclist on the team has a tragic past, and some are still experiencing tragedy even during the filming process. It's a story not only of survival and rebirth but of hope, struggle, dedication, and brotherhood.

It was the belief of a few men that the creation of a cycling team would instill a sense of hope and pride not only in those men but also in the entire country for what they experienced during the genocide. Narrated by Forrest Whitaker, the film actually explains the history of the genocide in very helpful detail, giving just enough backstory to be helpful. A mixture of interview and race footage keeps this documentary interesting, and you can't help but hope that the team members succeed both in life and in competition.

This film only follows the Rwandan cycling team for a handful of years, but despite this, there are layers of story and emotion built into Rising from Ashes. The interviews with Jock Boyer, a professional cyclist and now coach of the Rwandan team, are brutally honest both about his own history and his team. Rising from Ashes is a documentary with one of the most apt titles I've seen for a documentary.


About Candace Breiten

Candace Breiten

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