A Child's Century of War

2001
Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Shelley Saywell
Directed by Shelley Saywell
VHS, color, 90 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Adolescence, Drama, Film Studies, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, History, War


Reviewed by Brad Eden, Ph.D., Head, Web and Digitization Services, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Highly Recommended (with reservations)    ALA
 


The twentieth century was one of the bloodiest centuries in history. An era that featured warfare that had a tremendous effect on the human race. Not only are the death and injury toll from the wars of this century dramatic, but the effect that war had on the lives of children was especially powerful though rarely documented. This film, told from the perspective of children, shows how three contemporary conflicts have affected their lives. Orphans of the two recent Chechen Wars in the Soviet Union, children growing up on Martyr Street in Hebron in Israel (the most dangerous street in the West Bank), and children from the recent conflicts in Sierra Leone are interviewed and questioned about their daily lives and their experiences. The Sierra Leone conflict in particular is disturbing, as the children that talk in the film have been either abducted, raped, and/or have amputated limbs. The film weaves the comments told by these children with readings from diaries of children in past conflicts.

This is a strong and powerful film. The highly recommended status indicates the high quality and content of this film, but it should be viewed by presenters before being shown to high school or other audiences, as these stories and pictures are highly dramatic and disturbing. It is well filmed, and is narrated by the actor Christopher Plummer, known for his role as the father of the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music