The January release of Black Earth Rising on Netflix is no coincidence in its timing. Twenty-five years after the Rwandan genocide, this series is a stark reminder to the world of how horrific, complicated, and forever life-impacting it was for so many.
Kate Ashby, played by Michaela Coel, is left for dead in one of the mass Rwandan killings. Her cries are heard, and she is miraculously rescued and adopted by Eve (Harriet Walter), a lawyer in the international courts.
The Kate we meet has been well raised by her mother and has become a British legal investigator in her own right. Her life is one of privilege and promise, far removed from the horror of her past. All this changes when Kate learns that her mother takes on a case to prosecute an African militia leader. The drama, which moves between international embassies and the highest courts of law, is a thriller layered with emotion that crosses but is also confused by past and present political and racial tensions.
The series moves effectively between 1994 and the present, slowly filling in the horrors of the genocide and the complex reasons that led to it, as well as the lasting impact on the African continent and the world. The eight episodes run an hour each. Violence and language, albeit fitting, make this movie appropriate for an older mature teen viewer. (BBC/Netflix)
Note: The 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide is marked in this sobering and poignant photo essay of rape victims and their daughters.