War Witch

June 16, 2013 No Comments

What’s in a name?

Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen’s gripping and beautiful movie of a young girl’s nightmare experience within an African rebel army is titled “War Witch” and this concerns me.  Audiences may dismiss it as they connect it with “War Horse” or “Witches of Eastwick” or some other off point combo.  The French title for this remarkable film is “Rebelle”, simply (or not) the feminine version of “rebel”, which captures the essence of this remarkable story.  There is a mystical/magical undertone to this movie, but it is essentially the story of a child drawn into horrors of adult life at its very worse, told through the eyes of that child, who serves as the narrator of the movie.

This is not a film that Hollywood would make.  Nguyen weaves oppressive violence and childlike experience with a light touch that never preaches.  There is much communication visually that is quietly stunning.  The complicity of Western colonialism is never far (the Abercrombie T shirt our protagonist wears reminds us) and the quiet resolve of the African people, despite the horrors they inflict upon each other, is sweet and real.

White Roosters become a quest (I don’t want to spoil the magic) and an indictment.  Our young protagonist searches for forgiveness and reparation and we travel with her, hoping.

This film will screen again at the Detroit Film Theatre next weekend:  Friday and Saturday, June 21-22 at 9:30 and Sunday June 23 at 4:30.  It is clearly magical on the big screen.  However, if you can’t make it down to the DFT, it is also available at Amazon Instant Videao (go to Amazon and click on Instant Video) for a tiny price.

Don’t miss it!   It was a favorite at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and deserves to be seen!



DFT Presents, Must See Movie of the Week

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