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A superb portrayal of how innocence is lost through conflict,
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This review is from: Innocent Voices [DVD] (DVD)
Innocent Voices is an El Salvadorian film set during the civil war there that lasted for 12 years, and in particular the effect it has on one little boy called Chava (played by Carlos Padilla) and his family and friends.
This being a topic I have no knowledge about, the subject matter was as intriguing as the accolade of awards that the film won when it was released - which having recently watched it, are definately justifiably deserved. It's the type of film that will have you thinking about it for days after watching - always the sign of a true work of art.
Although set in a different country and set during a period in time that very few "outsiders" can emphasise with or indeed even know about (including myself), the film has the very beautiful ability of making the viewer relate and emphasise with the characters, particularly Chava, with such subtlety and humanity that makes you very much feel "part" of the film from a very early stage. You can imagine yourself at that age and how you were/would have been in many of the scenes, and once that hook is into you, it makes it all the more intense when something bad happens as you automatically emphasise with the situation based upon the immediately preceding scene and imagine how YOU would react/would have reacted.
The gist of the film though, is the robbing of Chava's childhood innocence as he lives his life coping with the events surrounding him and through the course of the film you witness a child become a man before his time, yet with a dignity and poignancy that really leaves its mark. The acting from Carlos Padilla (Chava) is simply staggering for someone of his age, and I have no doubt that he will become a respected and successful actor as his performance puts many "established" actors to shame.
The film has many funny moments, but also some truly harrowing scenes - a paradox that is filmed extremely well and without pulling any punches - genuinely an emotional roller coaster.
In summary, I would highly recommend this film - it's superbly acted, shot and directed, and highlights a period in world history that deserves more recognition that it currently has.