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War Witch (2012)

Rachel Mwanza , Serge Kanyinda , Kim Nguyen  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rachel Mwanza, Serge Kanyinda
  • Directors: Kim Nguyen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Video Group
  • DVD Release Date: September 10, 2013
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,459 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Komona (Rachel Mwanza) is only 12 years old when she is kidnapped by rebel soldiers and enslaved to a life of guerrilla warfare in the African jungle. Forced to commit unspeakable acts of brutality, she finds hope for survival in protective, ghost-like visions (inspiring a rebel chief to anoint her War Witch ), and in a tender relationship with a fellow soldier named Magician (Serge Kanyinda). Together, they manage to escape the rebels' clutches, and a normal life finally seems within reach. But after their freedom proves short-lived, Komona realizes she must find a way to bury the ghosts of her past.

Special Features:

Story Behind the Scene with Kim; Academy Award® Promo


Mesmerizing --The New York Times

Stunning. Rachel Mwanza's performance is one of the finest of the year --Indiewire

A moving and emotional powerhouse --Movieline

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The idea of kids being forced into war and brutality is certainly a harrowing one. Many films, either directly of indirectly, have tackled the truth and unpleasantness of this unimaginable horror. These stories rarely qualify as entertainment but as something much more important. They make you confront humanity itself and face a world in which this is not only possible but commonplace. One of my favorite films on the topic is the little-seen "Johnny Mad Dog" from 2008 (although favorite might be the wrong word, maybe most impactful). This blunt force drama about child soldiers in Liberia is such an exhausting and disturbing experience, it has resonated with me even years afterwards. With the acclaim of Kim Ngyyen's "War Witch," I expected a similarly assaulting film. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of graphic violence and brutality in this examination of a young girl's life. But the picture also has a gentler and more hopeful side, even as its environment has little room for tenderness and human connection. Although based in an undisclosed African nation, this film is actually from Canada and was a 2013 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. And at its heart, it is a strong story of survival amidst the worst conditions possible.

"War Witch" covers a few crucial years in the life of a girl named Komona. At the age of 12, Komona is abducted into the rebel army from her village with a stunning act of violence. The children are used alternately as slave labor and as killing machines, given no option other than to be ruthless warriors. Komona is haunted by past acts and has visions which bring her to the attention of a powerful warlord. Thus, she is dubbed a witch and her prophesies are trusted to keep the rebel leader victorious.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'War Witch' is set somewhere in central Africa, but no particular country is identified. It's by a Canadian-based writer, Kim Nguyen, who has a proffered up a most harrowing and disturbing tale of the abduction of a 12 year old girl by a band of criminals who call themselves 'rebels' and how they transform this girl and other children into armed and vicious soldiers.

The film begins with an unbearably difficult scene to watch. Komona (the protagonist played by the very talented newcomer, Rachel Mwanza) is forced to kill her own parents and later, she and other abducted children are issued AK-47s, where they're forced to fight government soldiers who are pursuing them.

An albino child-soldier, Magician, gives Komona a tree sap that induces hallucinatory visions. Throughout the film, Komona has visions of her murdered parents, painted all in white. Early on, she escapes from the government soldiers after she's warned by these visions of her parents. Due to this escape, the leader of the so-called 'rebels', Great Tiger, declares her a 'war witch' and none of Great Tiger's soldiers are allowed to whip Komona. Nonetheless, she still is forced to dig for coltan, a metallic ore which is considered one of the "blood minerals", which these roving gangs of criminals are fighting over.

At a certain point, Komona runs off with Magician, who is determined to marry her. At the midpoint, there's some comic relief, where Magician must find a 'white rooster', to consummate the marriage ritual. Before the young couple attains marital bliss, Great Tiger's men track down Magician and kill him with a machete for running off with Komona.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film March 6, 2013
By Flixsta
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I can't get it out of mind. It is such a gut wrenching story and I feel like I just spent an hour and a half in the Congolese jungles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping view of life in a war-torn land September 22, 2013

In the harrowing, Oscar-nominated Canadian drama "War Witch," a young African girl is conscripted into a band of armed rebels, ordered by them to kill her own parents, then forced, along with the other children in her village, to fight against the government forces they're opposing. Because she seemingly has some sort of psychic visions of where the enemy is hiding in the woods (it's actually hallucinations brought on by a psychotropic liquid she imbibes from some local plants), she earns the position of personal "witch" to the chief rebel himself - a position that brings with it special protection as well (at least up to a point). But that's only the beginning of Komona's ordeal as she hooks up with an albino "magician" (the excellent Serge Kanyinda) with whom she tries to flee the horrors of the world around them.

And it is those very horrors - the nonstop terror and violence, and the ever present prospect of sudden death - that writer/director Kim Nguyen captures to such powerful effect in this film. Despite its occasional forays into the surreal, what one takes away most from "War Witch" is its unflinching willingness to confront the brutal realities of life for Komona and the countless others who share her predicament. Then there are the occasional acts of random kindness that allow hope to flourish even in the most horrible of circumstances.

And all throughout her ordeal, Komona must find a way to bury, both literally and figuratively, the ghosts of the parents she killed.

Rachel Mwanza is utterly amazing as Komona, and she richly deserved all the praise and awards heaped on her for her performance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie about a young girl's perspective on African civil war. Great story and movie.Must see it.
Published 2 months ago by Code Name: Specialist
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Story was a little different than I expected but in a good way. Better than most crap out there in Hollywood.
Published 4 months ago by Jason D. Stickler
5.0 out of 5 stars good movie
I highly rated this movie for his image quality and sound . No any kind intorruption during the view of the movie
Published 6 months ago by Felly Milambo
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed.
After reading previous reviews, perhaps my expectations were too high. Although you get a good perspective on child soldiers the ghosts who consistently show up throughout the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by BH
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
We take so much for granted as women in the United States. The character showed strength and character despite the events.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Way down my list
The story drags. So disinteresting that I stopped watching halfway thru. the five star rating it had from others must have been the result of a very few ratings.
Published 16 months ago by PK in NC
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart wretching
The atrosities in Africa beyond belief, and this brings it's worst to light. The movie is difficult to watch because of this, but brings the struggles of on 12-year-old girl to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by herbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Child soldiers, what an informative, inside look at their lives!
Child soldiers have been a reality of every war since I was born in 1938! Those in Africa have gotten the most press recently, and this film certainly rings true to all reports... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. B
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant
Insightful filmmaking. Congratulations to the director for daring to go there and opening it up for the world to see.
Published 17 months ago by Rev. Earl Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars Komona, 14-Years-Old; She Is a Child Soldier
"Rebelle" (also known as "War Witch") is a Canadian film in French language, set in some unspecified country in Africa (actually filmed on location in Democratic Republic of the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Tsuyoshi
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