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We recently watched "Voces Inocentes" in my AP Spanish class. It was definitely an experience. Native and non-native Spanish speakers alike were in tears by the end. After 12 years of suspiciously right-winged information given to us about the US involvement in Central and South America, it was really refreshing to see another aspect presented in our public school, though it is potentially just as skewed as our textbooks. We were so excited by the movie, as was our teacher, that we told all our friends and it was shown to all the other high school Spanish classes. I was surprised, and not a little embarrassed at how ignorant I was of all that happened in El Salvador. More classroom attention should be given to that situation, not just because it happened, but so that it won't happen again.
Stunning film about the Salvadoran Civil War, told through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy, who, once he hits twelve, will be rounded up with other children and forced into military service, fighting for the US supported government. As shocking as the reality of the subject matter is, the film plays out peppered with good humor as we watch this mischievous little boy and his similarly mischievous friends carry on being children in spite of the horrors unfolding around them. Watching and laughing at these charming children brings a weight of sadness as we know they will soon have to grow up or die.Because the impoverished locals didn't stand a chance against the U.S. funded military machine of El Salvador, they had to resort to guerrilla warfare, which in turn prompted the creation of US sponsored death squads whose role was to spread terror amongst the locals. They did this by killing over 75,000 innocent people.
"Voces Inocentes" was the most moving film I have seen in a long time. We often hear about Latin Americans living in poverty-stricken conditions, but this film truly illustrated what it is like to live in a war-torn country. Seeing young 12-year old boys being treated as adults and stolen from school really brought attention to the truth of the situation. Not only does the film depict a mother's emotional struggle as she tries to keep her son young, but it also describes Chava's maturity into an adult. He knows his family needs him and is forced to make decisions about his own life. It was such an emotional film and made me very thankful to not have to fight daily to survive.