Having never lived through war in my back yard, civil or otherwise, I am struck at first with the horror of it. I ponder how one could continue with any semblance of routine; going to work, sending the kids off to school or out to play or getting a peaceful nights sleep. Of course after a time I suppose that this horror too, insinuates itself into the list of givens that become to a degree invisible or at least understood as you go through a day’s activities. Until the gun shots ring out again, or you are burying your dead or your boy child, God help him, reaches the age of 12, one is obliged to co-exist however tenuously with this uninvited squatter.
The writers Luis Mondoki and Oscar Orlando Torres seemed to soft peddle an editorial about international policy while letting us know that they were not naive to these dynamics. Instead they simmer these high level abstractions and varying agendas to a most potent reduction; the juxtaposing of war with the day-to-day life of a child named Chava who is at it’s mercy and in it’s cross hairs. They examine the concentric circles of Chava’s life and show us how each was impacted by the insanity. A curfew interrupts old play routines, his mom is terrified when he is late, “These solders are not playing.”, his school yard is alternately guarded by soldiers and invaded by soldiers who are take the 12 year olds to war, young love between he and Cristina Maria is contrasted against soldiers kidnapping young girls walking past their truck, the solace of prayer and the church is exchanged for a message by the priest who calls the congregation to resistance, “Brothers, it is not enough to pray”, old friends are transformed into guerillas who have traded skipping rocks for shooting guns.
After seeing this movie I wanted to know more about this civil war that killed more than 75,000 people over 12 years and how the US was involved. I found this site in my search http://www.pbs.org/itvs/enemiesofwar/story.html . Now I have been sitting with my computer on my lap for about an hour. I’ve written and I’ve erased at least a dozen times. Though I would love to hear what those of you who have seen this film think, how it impacted you, I am finding that I am quite speechless. – Joan