A civil war in Africa. After her village is burned down by rebels and her parents are killed, Komona is forced into the jungle as a child soldier. Her brutal commander not only trains her in the use of arms but also orders her to sleep with him. Searching for shelter amidst the horror, she turns to a slightly older boy with white hair who she calls ‘Magician’ and falls in love with. After they escape from the camp together, Komona does her utmost to return to her village. She wants to bury her parents to prevent them having to eternally wander the wasted land as ghosts.
Told throughout from the perspective of an adolescent girl, the film – shot in authentic locations in Congo and cast mainly with non-professional actors – visualizes the horrors of civil war and the suffering of children and civilians. Realistic images are interspersed with dream sequences which are rooted in African legends and which resonate with infinite grief about hardship and misery. Despite all the horrors she encounters, Komona proves to be a beacon of hope for a continent yearning for peace and humanity. –Berlinale
In 2002, Kim Nguyen wrote and directed his first feature: Le Marais. The film received 6 Jutra nominations including Best Film and Best Director. His second feature, Truffe, which he wrote, directed and produced, stars Roy Dupuis and was the opening film at Montreal‘s FANTASIA Film Festival in 2008. It also garnered international awards including Best Film at the Karlovy Vary Fresh Film Festival. In 2009 he directed LA CITE, an international co-production starring Jean Marc Barr. War Witch, his latest feature was entirely shot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in July 2011 and will have its world premiere in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. —rebelle-lefilm.ca
Though perhaps an oversimplification, one might describe the experience as a hybrid of Cate Shortland's Lore, the intimately observed and exquisitely filmed travelogue through a harrowing ordeal, and the magical realism as narrated by an innocent, as per Behn Zeitlin's Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Austere, yet stylish, and worth checking out for Mwanza's impressive performance.
Move over white rabbit, the white rooster's in town. LATimes notes that Nguyen's film is "less about war and child soldiers than it is about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances. His inspiration came a Burmese guerrilla group known as God's Army in the '90s who were believed by their followers to have magic powers." This deeply affecting work is brilliantly conceived and realized.
The story of a 12 year old narrating to her unborn child the harrowing story of how she ended up in the rebel forces in an unnamed country in Africa and what she'd been through. Manages to mesmerize the audience with a mix of great acting, exquisite soundtrack of African music, extraordinary cinematography including the hair raising depictions of the spirits of the dead. Will not be forgotten easily.
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