2010, Movies

Grace, Milly Lucy… Child Soldiers (2010, Raymonde Provencher)

This is a workmanlike documentary focusing on girl child soldiers in Uganda and Sudan which feels like it was made for television due to its brevity and its budget.

The film focuses on three former child soldiers, Milly, Lucy and Grace Akallo, now an advocate for former child soldiers. It jumps back and forth between Grace in the US (and, occasionally, in her past) and Milly and Lucy in Uganda. It’s a story I wasn’t aware of, as I honestly believed that child soldiers were predominantly boys. The film is made up of interviews with all three – and a couple of their parents, as well as one husband – shorts of village life and Grace speaking, plus very limited dramatizations of people marching and learning how to load guns.

There are lots of depressing things about this movie, not the least of which is that sometimes the families disown the girls if they return. That’s one of those things that it’s really hard to get your head around – these kids are usually abducted before they are 10 and it’s crazy to think that communities and families could blame them for it.

The film is pretty low budget and isn’t anything more than your typical TV documentary. It’s actually kind of hard to understand the need for the limited dramatizations except to break up the interview and video footage. From a film standpoint, I’m really not sure there’s much to admire here. It’s workmanlike, as I said.

But the content is certainly revealing and if you’re at all interested in either the wars in Africa or the problem of child soldiers, it’s certainly educational. (If you’ve read Grace’s memoir, I’m not sure it will be, though.) But it’s entirely too brief to get excited about. And it didn’t even have an Imdb page until I tried to create one.

6/10

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