Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Reviews

‘War Witch’: A Dreamy Drama of African Child Soldiers

Seeing the horrors of war through the eyes of a child is nothing new to the movies, and there are plenty of films about lost innocence and survival during wartime. The Oscar nominee War Witch, made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by French-Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen, is about innocence robbed, abused, and preyed upon.

Komona (Rachel Mwanza) is a child soldier in an unidentified sub-Saharan African nation. Narrating her story to her unborn child, the 14-year-old recalls the time, two years earlier, that her village was massacred by rebels and she was forced by their commander to shoot her mother and father. Abducted by the rebels, she’s saved from even worse abuse after her visions mark her as a witch, a living totem for the warlord known as the Great Tiger (Mizinga Mwinga), who commands by force of personality and perceived power. Later, another rebel will claim Komona for his concubine. Yet between her travails she finds tenderness from an albino boy, a fellow soldier who becomes her champion, and from his uncle, a village butcher who embraces her like a daughter.

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