Sunday, October 23, 2005

Voces Inocentes

(This photo was found with Google Images on the website of Cine Premiere)

A few days ago I watched this film called Voces Inocentes (Innocent Voices). It was one of the first things I heard about when I came to El Salvador. EVERYONE asked me if I had seen the film, and being the new gringa on the block, I could barely figure out what the heck they were asking me. But, I am proud to say that I purchased a pirated copy of the film the other day and watched it in its entirety in the original Spanish (no subtitles for me, unless I wanted to read the Portuguese, because English wasn’t available).

Let me just begin by saying that Voces Inocentes is one of the best films that I’ve ever seen (and if you know me and my little obsession with film, that’s saying a lot). I don’t know, I have just been thinking about this film all week since I’ve seen it. I want to watch it again, but I’m trying to pace myself. The story is really compelling, but watching it in El Salvador is like having a religious experience. It’s hard to explain (even for me).

Voces Inocentes is the true story of Oscar Torres, the screenwriter of this film. The main character, Chava, is only eleven years old but he has become the "man of the house" as his father abandons the family in the middle of the civil war (typical of a Salvadoran family during the war and today for that matter). At this ripe age, Chava not only watches the violence of the war erupt in his community, in his school and in his life, but he has to face the reality that in one years time, he will turn twelve. During the war, the Salvadoran government forcefully recruited twelve year old boys to fight in the war against the guerilla forces of the FMLN. It’s a reality he dreads and you can certainly see that his tender heart is not meant for the life of a soldier.
Chava’s story is not unique to El Salvador or the world for that matter. TODAY there are more than 300,000 child soldiers fighting in more than 40 countries (statistic found on VI website). As I learn more about the realities of El Salvador, I am always amazed at the individual stories of people here. I have met people just like Chava and his family. And I think for me, that is what made this film all the more real.

I seriously recommend that you see this film. Spend the ten bucks if you can or get yourself a pirated copy like I did!!! It’s a great way to learn about the reality I am finding, as well as entering into Salvadoran culture in a unique way. Plus, I am always a fan of education through film. And when you do see the film, let me know what you think.

Here’s the film website for you

1 comment:

oso said...

I was really moved by Voces Inocentes as well. After writing that post I got a comment from someone claiming to be Oscar Torres, the real "Chava." That's the tough thing about the internet, there's no way to be sure if it was really him or not. I tried emailing him, but didn't hear anything back. Either way, I like to think he did read my thoughts ... and that he's living a peaceful life now.