Although unpleasant, the way this movie recorded innocence and childhood getting muffled will make you think about how far we have come as a cultured race.
Chava (Carlos Padilla) became my instant favorite in the very first reels. He has an elusive yet extraordinarily expressive face. He really means it when he says he is the ‘man of the house’ amidst a missing father, a dedicated and loving mother, a younger brother, a cute little farty sister (yes you read that right), a fe w best friends, an angelic girlfriend, poverty, and guerrilla warfare.
It is really unfortunate that kids his age have to go through war and death when they should actually be attending summer schools to sharpen their favorite skills.
The village shown is as authentic as you would get (at least I thought so) with people eager to help each other even though their roofs cant help but let the rains through and the young kids get recruited to the army every year. And to think all this started because peasants opposed government’s move to occupy private property.
The part that most affected me though was when Chava goes to his friend (Christie Maria)’s house to gift her a toad (watch the movie to know why), and all he finds is shreds of her dress in a burnt down war struck remains. The part where he copes with that incident, his performance is remarkable! In that one moment, I wanted to be that kid, and feel the pain he felt as his was squeezing Christie’s dress-shreds close to his heart, shaking, and watching the toad jump away under tropical rains…
And did I mention Leonor Varela did one helluva job as a distressed single mother, who makes an honest living, and keeps her children away from all the political/anti-government propaganda? What prowess, what intimacy!
I still wish subconsciously that I could bring back his lost friends, the girl friend, his father, and his innocence, but I fear that would turn it into a senseless predictable flick. And then again, it is based on true stor(y)(ies).
‘Innocent Voices’ is the first movie in a long while that gets a perfect 5.0 rating from me. A must watch if you are open minded enough to appreciate international cinema!
Movie Review Innocent Voices (Voces Inocentes). 2004. Spanish.