February 16, 2013
I learned about this film "War Witch" because it was nominated for the Oscar in Best Foreign Language Film. It is in French and was submitted by Canada. It is not an easy movie to watch. It chronicles two years in the life of a female child warrior in civil war-torn Africa.
Set in an unspecified African village and country, Komona is a 12 year old girl who was forcibly abducted by rebels to be a child warrior among many other children in her village. She had a unique talent of seeing spirits of the dead, which gave her the distinction of being a "War Witch" and thus a sacred member of their band of rebels. Despite this, she would still live a harrowing life of constant violence and anguish. This would be interrupted by an interlude of love, but sadly it would not last too long.
We hear the story in Komona's point of view so we can share in her very thoughts through her narrations. Young Rachel Mwanza bravely and compellingly played Komona. We literally see her face age from the first time we see her on screen to her final scene. We see a child forced to mature beyond her years in the most brutal ways possible. As you watch this, you will be thankful you do not lead Komona's tortured existence.
The direction, screenplay, cinematography and make-up of this film are outstanding. The depiction of the dead spirits Komona sees are very effective in its simplicity. This film succeeds to bring the heretofore unknown hell as experienced by children in war-ravaged Africa into the consciousness of the rest of the world. Are you ready to see this hell?