The regular film series of the Williams Lake Film Club will continue Tuesday, April 9, at the Gibraltar Room.
We will show the film War Witch, originally titled Rebelle.
It is the story of 12 year old Komona who is kidnapped by sub-Saharan African rebels and forced at gunpoint to shoot her own parents and fight as a child soldier against the government in the jungles.
She is no ordinary soldier due to her ability to see grey ghosts in the trees that warn her of approaching enemies.
She is considered a sorceress and given the title of War Witch by the leader of the rebels. Later she meets and falls in love with a young albino magician but is again kidnapped and forced to live with the commander of her unit.
More poignant than words can express is the opening scene in which this young girl soldier talks to her unborn child, confessing she is unsure if she will have the strength to love her when she is born. Inspired by a newspaper article, Canadian director and screen writer Kim Nguyen’s film is a devastating glimpse into the world of an African child soldier.
There is an amazing amount of heart and tenderness, even humour, in this often shocking and brutal film. This tenderness comes mainly from Mwanza’s (Komona) overwhelmingly vulnerable performance, for which she received best actress awards in Berlin, Tribeca and Vancouver Film Festivals. Rebelle had been nominated for an Academy Award as Canada’s official entry in the Foreign Language Category, but as it seems to happen again and again, Québecois films just prove to be a bit too strong for the Academy. A pity, really.
Here a couple of facts supplied by The Independent from the U.K. There are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers in at least 20 countries in the world today. The problem of child soldiers is most severe in Africa. Right now, children are fighting across the continent: in Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the film Rebelle has been shot. There always are plenty of new recruits as in many conflict affected areas children make up the majority of the population. Armed groups often send children in the first wave of an attack so as to draw the enemy’s fire.
As well as being forced to fight, children are used as spies, couriers, cooks and cleaners. Girls are often forced into sexual slavery. Some 40 per cent of child soldiers are girls.
War Witch or Rebelle comes with the highest recommendations and should not be missed.
Screening starts April 9 at the Gibraltar Room at 7 p.m., back doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $9 regular, $8 for film club members, $6 for seniors (65+) and students, high school and TRU.
Proceeds help to support the LDA, Williams Lake Chapter of the Association for Students with Learning Disabilities, 250-303-2354.