Wednesday, April 24, 2013

War Witch (Rhoades)

“War Witch” Shows
Rebellion in Africa

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

The horrors of war. We’re not referring to Middle Eastern conflicts, bad as they are. This is a reference to “War Witch,” a French Canadian film about atrocities in Africa.
The War Witch is the name given to an impoverished African girl who was kidnapped by Tiger’s rebels and forced to become a “child soldier,” a youngster carrying an assault rifle when she should still be playing with dolls.
It’s not a pleasant story -- death, rape, war -- but it is punctuated by lyrical moments, such as Komona and Magician’s attempted escape and the search for a mystical white rooster.
“War Witch” is showing at the Tropic Cinema.
Komona (played by Rachel Mwanza) must return to her village in order to bury her parents’ remains, else risk a curse on her future child.
Rachel Mwanza is a 15-year-old actress from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Abandoned by her parents as a child, she herself lived on the streets of Kinshasa (formerly French Léopoldville) until being tapped to star in “Rebelle.” Director Kim Nguyen had spotted her in a documentary about street kids. With no education, she did not even know how to read or write when she began acting in Nguyen’s film.
Her performance earned awards for Best Actress from the Berlin Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, and the Canadian Screen Awards.
“War Witch” was Canada's entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 85th Academy Awards.

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