Rachel Mwanza

review war witch

Best Foreign Language Film nominee War Witch (aka Rebelle) is the story of a young girl kidnapped by a rebel army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and forced into becoming a child soldier. Yet, despite the moral simplicity we often expect from the Oscars, it is not a film designed to make you weep and rally around a cause. I would argue that that film doesn’t exist, hasn’t existed, but that’s a conversation for another day. War Witch is not the long form cinematic equivalent of “Kony 2012” either. It is, rather, a beautifully wrought tale of humanity that is much more focused on its own characters than it is on your tears. If anything, Kim Nguyen’s Oscar-nominated feature has more in common with an adventure novel than any human rights campaign video. War Witch is three years in the life of a young girl, whose journey through central African life would be picaresque if it weren’t so earnest and genuine. The film opens on Komona (Rachel Mwanza) at twelve years old, living in a small village with her parents. She narrates her own story, with a lucidity reminiscent of 18th century autobiographical fiction. The biggest trauma comes almost immediately, as her world is destroyed by the makeshift army of the Grand Tiger. She is held at gunpoint by the rebels, handed a Kalashnikov, and forced to execute her parents. The ensuing 90 minutes, episodic and widely scoped as they might be, are in essence her recovery (and ours) from […]

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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