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War Witch

  • Mar 29, 2013 · 5:15 PM
  • Museum of Fine Arts

War Witch by Kim Nguyen (Canada, 2012, 90 min.). Komona (Rachel Mwanza) is only 12 years old when she is forced to aid rebels in guerrilla warfare, but out of the atrocities comes an incredible story of human resilience. Komona finds hope for survival in protective, ghost-like visions, and in a relationship with a fellow soldier named Magician. This mesmerizing drama borrows from African legends imbuing the stark reality with a surreal aesthetic. In French and Lingala with English subtitles. 2012 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

From the AV Club:

War Witch had its U.S. première at Tribeca in 2012, and the festival went on to award the film its top narrative feature award, and to purchase it for theatrical distribution. It later became one of the year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. Still, War Witch doesn’t feel like awards-bait hand-wringing; it follows more in the footsteps of Terrence Malick, with beautiful compositions belying ugly events, and a protagonist whose whispered words guide the audience through a voyage of self-discovery. But where Malick’s characters question their relationship with the spiritual world, Mwanza lives frankly and unquestioningly in an environment defined by ghosts and magic; the film’s English-language title comes from the rebel leader’s insistence that Mwanza has witchcraft on her side, which earns her special treatment, but a guaranteed execution if her powers fail him. And in spite of its periodic gun battles, War Witch is quieter than a Malick film, with long, wordless, often music-free stretches where writer-director Kim Nguyen simply observes Mwanza and her fellow heavily armed anti-government rebels, as they roughhouse, train, sing, drink, slip through the brush in search of enemies, or babble under the influence of hallucinogenic tree sap. Nguyen seems more interested in exploring the child-soldier experience on an intuitive, experiential level than in whipping viewers into specific response.

War Witch is a remarkably mature portrait that trusts its audience to have their own reactions to its material; it doesn’t yank at the heartstrings so much as expertly tune them.

Depending on the size and interest of the group, we'll go to UNO for libations, succor, and discussion!

See you at the movie,


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  • Anne

    I wasn't able to join the group for this film, but I saw it last night. Wow! What a powerful, remarkable, beautiful film. I wish I could have been there for the discussion!

    April 6, 2013

  • Paula C.

    An exceptional glimpse into complex and disturbing world from the perspective a young girl with an AK47. Great selection, John

    April 1, 2013

  • John

    When the discussion goes on longer than the film, itself, you know the experience was well worth the price of admission! Thanks to everyone for exploring so many aspects of the film. This was one that I would not have wanted to 'just go home' after viewing!

    March 30, 2013

  • Patti C.

    This movie stuck with me. Woke up this AM remembering scenes and, especially, thinking about the sound design. The longer I think about it, the better I feel about it.

    March 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Glad I could make such a good film my first - and with great people!

    March 30, 2013

  • Patti C.

    Swell, meaty movie and great conversation over fun food...

    March 29, 2013

  • Shirley

    Interesting movie. Want to learn more about the director. Thanks to John for organizing.

    March 29, 2013

  • Laura

    the electrician is not finished so I will never make it on time

    March 29, 2013

  • robin

    I'm so sorry that I won't be able to make this. I was so looking forward to it. Robin

    March 28, 2013

  • Laura

    may not go to uno's will be driving in

    March 5, 2013

8 went

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