Currently browsing the "child soldiers" tag.

Beasts of No Nation

The saddest aspect of many of today’s conflicts is the presence of child soldiers, conscripted into becoming killers at a time they should be learning to read and write and playing games with their friends. Beasts of No Nation is beautifully adapted from Uzodinma Iweala’s debut novel, the story of a 9-year-old boy named Agu in an unnamed West African country that’s in the throes of a civil war. He begins as a normal kid just goofing around with his friends. But when the army comes to his village and kills his dad and his brother, he flees into the jungle only to run into a rebel army headed by the charismatic Commandant played by the amazing Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther) who molds the petrified and confused boy into a murderous warrior, while seducing him with the idea that they are his new family taking care of each other. It is altogether tragically horrifying.

War Witch (Rebelle)

I really wish that films nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar were available before the awards were given out, so that just once I could fill out a ballot having seen them all. Only Amour got a big release and a bunch of hoopla! (And the Oscar, not so coincidentally.) Kon-Tiki opens in April. No and A Royal Affair have been around but only in limited release. And I was only able to see War Witch this week via a screener. I realize that if I lived in LA or New York, I could see more films earlier in their “limited releases,” and that they need that Oscar buzz for audiences around the country to venture out, but it makes me wonder how many wonderful small films from foreign lands we in the hinterlands never have a chance to see.