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Today we invite you to learn about Voces inocentes, a Latin American feature film that garnered critical acclaim and received important awards. 😁
This film by Luis Mandoki will not leave you indifferent.🙌
Let’s get started!
Voces inocentes is a 2004 film directed by Mexican director Luis Mandoki and starring Carlos Padilla, Leonor Varela, Gustavo Muñoz and José María Yazpik.
The film has a certain historical character, as it takes place in El Salvador during the bloody Civil War that the country experienced in the 1980s. The conflict pitted the official armed forces against an insurgent group calling itself the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).
To understand the film, it is important to know the Salvadoran historical context of those years.
Like many Latin American countries, El Salvador was a territory for ideological confrontation during the Cold War between the two major global powers of the time: the United States and the Soviet Union.
On the one hand, the United States financed and trained the country’s armed forces in order to contain communist expansionism in the region. On the other hand, the Soviet Union supported the insurgent factions, especially the FMLN, with the objective of consolidating an ally in the region.
In the midst of the armed conflict, it was common for children, upon reaching the age of twelve, to be torn away from their families and recruited to fight in the army.
That is the fear of Chava (Carlos Padilla), an eleven-year-old boy who fears being forcibly recruited and leaving his mother (Leonor Varela) and younger siblings on their own. It should be noted that, even though he is so young, Chava feels the obligation to help the family financially, since his father has gone to live in the United States.
As he has only one year of innocence left before being drafted, Chava’s fear is constant and marks his actions in the film. However, he keeps in his heart the purity of every child, and even falls in love with a classmate, which helps keep hope alive for a better future.
One night, when his mother has not yet returned from work, they hear a shooting outside the house. Chava and her brothers hide under the bed and wait for the crossfire to stop.
The next day, Chava goes to run an errand and comes across an opportunity to work for a bus driver (Jesús Ochoa). The boy does not hesitate to accept the opportunity to help his mother with the cats in the house.
Another ally of Chava in his struggle to survive is the local church priest (Daniel Giménez Cacho), who helps him evade the military draft.
The film succeeds in conveying the hostile atmosphere and complex life circumstances of both Chava and his family and friends. The viewer has the feeling that from one moment to the next a great catastrophe is about to happen that will ruin the lives of the characters.
At the end of the film, two of Chava’s companions are captured and killed by the army, as they were planning to join the insurgent side. Luckily, Chava manages to escape before suffering the same fate.
When he arrives home, he finds that everything is consumed by a fire. His mother is missing, and he decides to stay there to wait for her. Finally, when he is reunited with his mother and siblings, they decide to escape to the United States, reunite with his father and start a new life.
Voces inocentes is a film full of captivating images. Violence, innocence, hope, fear and the struggle to survive are condiments that nourish the film with true humanity.
Luis Mandoki is a renowned Mexican director and screenwriter born in 1954.
One of the most representative features of Mandoki’s films is his versatility, as he has participated in projects of different genres, both in Mexico and Hollywood.
His first feature film, released in 1976, was Silent Music.
Some of his most outstanding films are: Motel, Cuando un hombre ama a una mujer, La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas and Voces Inocentes.
Mandoki has also ventured into documentary directing. In fact, he directed two documentaries on the controversial 2006 Mexican presidential elections: ¿Quién es el señor López? and Fraude: México 2006.
For this reason he is considered a filmmaker committed to his country’s politics.
In 1980 he received the Ariel Award for best director for his film El secreto.
His feature film Gaby: una historia verdadera received nominations for some categories at the Golden Globes and Oscar Awards.
Similarly, Voces inocentes, considered his most important work, won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Festival and the Stanley Kramer Award.
Finally, in 2005 he received the Best Director Award from the National Chamber of the Mexican Film Industry.
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Alejandro Coita Sánchez
Spanish Express Blogger