Kinshasa Kids

Perhaps the most ebullient “musical” you’ll see this year, Marc-Henri Wajnberg’s singular documentary/fiction hybrid follows a group of street children in the Congolese capital.

War Witch (Rebelle)

A civil war in Africa. After her village is burned down by rebels and her parents are killed, Komona is forced into the jungle as a child soldier. Her brutal commander not only trains her in the use of arms but also orders her to sleep with him. Searching for shelter amidst the horror, she turns to a slightly older boy with white hair who she calls ‘Magician’ and falls in love with. After they escape from the camp together, Komona does her utmost to return to her village. She wants to bury her parents to prevent them having to eternally wander the wasted land as ghosts …
Told throughout from the perspective of an adolescent girl, the film – shot in authentic locations in Congo and cast mainly with non-professional actors – visualises the horrors of civil war and the suffering of children and civilians. Realistic images are interspersed with dream sequences which are rooted in African legends and which resonate with infinite grief about hardship and misery. Despite all the horrors she encounters, Komona proves to be a beacon of hope for a continent yearning for peace and humanity. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival]