Stories of our Lives

War Witch


Somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, Komona, a 14-year-old girl, tells her unborn child growing inside her the story of her life since she has been at war. Everything started when she was abducted by the rebel army at the age of 12 .The story unfolds as a child’s magical realist fable, haunted by ghosts in the imagination of the girl, who addresses her remarks to her unborn child, the product of rape. Komona ominously voices her doubts about “whether God will give me the strength to love you,” and she contemplates drowning her baby when it is born. The film examines the concepts of good and evil in the mind of a child who is repeatedly forced to do what she calls “bad things” but maintains an elemental moral sense.

Read review from The New York Times

IMDB link

See trailer

Questions For Discussion

  1. Did any scene or camera angle or effect strikeyou? How did they help or hinder the story of the movie?

  2. What do you think the filmmaker is trying to communicate with the film?

  3. How does Komona’s sight of her parents’ ghosts change her life?

  4. How does the movie’s narration by a young girl affect how we experience the story?

  5. Child soldiering seems totally foreign to our life experience here in Canada. What points of connection can you make to Komona’s journey?

  6. If you see ‘War Witch” through the lens of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey [ordinary world > call to adventure > crossing threshold > tests/allies/enemies > ordeal > reward > resurrection > return with elixir or boon], how does your perception change?

  7. Comment on Ty Burr’s (Boston Globe) conclusion: “War Witch deals with a reality so horrific that the film’s touches of magical realism are welcome, even necessary — the only way to retain one’s bearings and sanity in a world without signposts.”

  8. What biblical stories or texts are you reminded of?
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