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TFF 2012 Preview – “War Witch” (Rebels, Pregnant Child Soldiers & Mysticism In The Congo)

TFF 2012 Preview - "War Witch" (Rebels, Pregnant Child Soldiers & Mysticism In The Congo)

Timely, as one short documentary that spreads the word about Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and his burtal child soldiers campaign goes viral today…

A Tribeca Film Festival 2012 selection (this years lineup was announced yesterday and I’ve been highlighting titles in S&A’s interest), it’s titled War Witch (or Rebelle), with a synopsis that reads as follows:

At 14, Komona has lived through horrors that eclipse any adult’s worst nightmares. In this mesmerizing, otherworldly drama, shot entirely in the Congo, she confides to the baby growing inside of her the harrowing story of her life since rebel warlords stormed her village. Fortified by eerily mystical powers and the warming friendship of an albino boy, the sensitive girl battles through this dire, war-ravaged world enchained as a child soldier.

Directed by Kim Nguyen, this Tribeca screening will be the film’s North American premiere after EFM (European Film Market) exposure last month.

I haven’t seen it yet, but the film seems like it touches on a number of themes/subjects – war, child soldiers, mysticism/mythology… and the fact the a young girl is at the fore is of note.

I’m almost always impulsively weary of films like this, especially when produced by filmmakers who isn’t of the particular region the film and its story are set. And it’s not a knock at all on the filmmaker; instead call it a knee-jerk reaction inspired by similar past films made under similar circumstances that have disappointed; 

But I’m glad to see that there isn’t the usual white American/Euopean protagnist who swoops in to make things all better.

It’s on my to-see list at Tribeca next month.

Check out the trailer:

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Reminds me of Johnny Mad Dog, Belgian production from a few years back. That was an excellent film about pretty much exactly the same thing, shot in the same way. I'm sure this will be just as good if not better.

The knee jerk feeling I get is an anxiety about the fact that we will continue to see films like this come out of the continent made by westerners, but we won't see any love stories or nuanced portrayls of life outside of sensational violence. Where is the "Love Brewed in an African Pot," or "Black Girl" in this generation of Sub Saharan African Cinema. The reality is Western producers don't want to fund those stories.


Saw it at its world premiere at Berlinale last month. Beautiful and moving film.

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