In her feature film debut, Fanta Regina Nacro, whose own personal tragedy inspired the movie, uses real-life people to tell her story of two leaders who attempt to obtain peace for their war-worn citizens after ten years of torture and genocide. Set in an imaginary country, the story begins at the preparation for a celebration of the peace treaty, though few of the citizens are not embittered and raw from the horrifying acts of tortuous cruelty the President's rule inflicted upon them. Children occupy themselves by sitting in groups sharing tales of horror and plans for revenge. As one legless girl puts it, "He cut off my leg, so I do not run. I will cut off his head, so he does not think." In spite of caustic anger and cynicism from both the troops and villagers, Colonel Theo honors the President and his wife at a feast of reconciliation. The festivities include a dance performance and Colonel Theo's wife firmly demands from the entertainers that no drums be used. Drums were the signal that began the genocide and she wishes to avoid inciting the already restless, suspicious troops. Unfortunately, the village jester appoints himself to perform an act of vengeance during the festival by indignantly beating the drums himself, which releases a barely suppressed flood of terror and panic on both sides. The resulting chaos re-ignites the barely suppressed old wounds and resentments. Will the reckless act of one individual destroy the delicate reconciliation of two nations?