- Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide
Rwanda Since the 1994 Genocide


‘First Kill’ and the human nature

By gabriela on February 4, 2013

“First Kill” is a compelling film that exposes the idea of a brutally violent side of human nature. By interviewing veteran soldiers, a photographer and a war correspondent, all whom were present at the Vietnam War, the filmmaker Coco Schrijber portrays how a man can become a numb, killer machine. Her argument with this documentary is that any individual when put under particular conditions (in this case, war) can become a murderer. Therefore, the human kind has an underlying murderous power. Not only that, but we can even enjoy and feel satisfaction in killing others, according the testimonies of a few of the veterans.

Although Schrijber, made a very interesting attempt of convincing the viewer that humans are inherent killers, I do not agree with that idea. Some abominable stories told in First Kill were very intriguing, but the ideas that were transmitted weren’t developed enough, in my opinion. One of the men collected Vietcongs’ ears as trophies. Why did he do it? What lead him to do it? What was his life like before the war? How was he brought up, what were his ideals? Most importantly, what was his training in the army like? How were they treated, what were they taught about war and the Vietnamese? I think this is a critical part that was not taken into consideration during the film production. The film tries to convey the idea of humans as natural born killers but things are much more complex than that. This oversimplification of human nature can also be seen when people attribute ‘tribalism’ and ‘ethnic hatred’ to the Rwandan genocide, something that is completely untrue as we have been seeing.


  • ST said:

    Is your comment intended to be a comment on the film or your required blog post for the week? It is not clear….

    • gabriela said:

      I thought of it as a required blog post while I was writing. Maybe I can make my next one more clear.

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