War Witch (2012)
"Rebelle" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  23 August 2012 (Netherlands)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 5,583 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 19 user | 93 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

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.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 35 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Commandant Rebelle
Serge Kanyinda ...
Ralph Prosper ...
Le Boucher
Diane Uwamahoro ...
Narration (voice)
Jean Kabuya ...
Entraineur Camp École
Jupiter Bokondji ...
Sorcier Tigre Royal
Starlette Mathata ...
Alex Herabo ...
Dole Malalou ...
Trafiquant Coltan
Karim Bamaraki ...
Homme à la Moto
Sephora Françoise ...
Mère de Boucher
Jonathan Kombe ...
Gendarme Gentil
Marie Dilou ...


Komona, a girl in Sub-Saharan Africa, tells the story to her unborn child about her kidnapping by rebels and forced to join their bloody civil war. When she discovers a valuable intuition about the presence of the enemy, she is elevated as a witch and favored by the rebel leader. However, this special status threatens to be short-lived in this world of superstition and senseless brutality even as the ghosts of the war dead haunt her visions. However, when a newfound friend convinces her to desert, Komona finds escaping that brutal life is far from easy with its physical and spiritual consequences following her wherever she goes. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

23 August 2012 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

War Witch  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,714 (USA) (1 March 2013)


$37,902 (USA) (22 March 2013)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The official entry of Canada to the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards 2013. See more »


Featured in The 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

"Spiritual and tangible love-story..."
22 January 2013 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Canadian screenwriter and director Kim Nguyen's third feature film which he wrote and co-produced, is inspired by stories of real life child soldiers. It premiered In competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012, was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is a Canadian production which was produced by producers Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even. It tells the story about a twelve-year-old girl named Komona who is kidnapped from her African village by a group of lawless soldiers called the great tigers, recruited as one of their rebels and trained to become a participant in their war against the government. Komona is radically changed by the violence that invades her life, but her ability to survive amazes her commander and he names her "War Witch".

Subtly and engagingly directed by Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated by the main character and mostly from her point of view, draws an involving and heartrending portrayal of a 12-year-old girl's transition from an ordinary girl to a soldier equipped with a deadly weapon and her relationship with an elder boy named Magician. While notable for its naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, sterling cinematography by Canadian cinematographer Nicolas Bolduc and use of sound, this character-driven, narrative-driven and humane drama about the loss of innocence, the psychological effects of war, survival and a fourteen-year-old girl's internal conversation with the child she is about to give birth to, depicts an incisive study of character.

This romantic, at times humorous and somewhat mysterious coming-of-age tale which was chosen as Canada's submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013 and where brutality alters the mind of a person whom is forced into a life where death is lurking on every corner, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, reflective voice-over narration and the impressive acting performances by Congolese actress Rachel Mwanza and actor Serge Kanyinda in their debut feature film roles. A spiritual and tangible love-story about the eternal power of life which gained, among other awards, the Silver Bear for Best Actress Rachel Mwanza at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012.

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