Recent African history, according to countless documentaries, consists of wars waged by men and reconciliations waged by women. But in “Grace, Milly, Lucy … Child Soldiers,” vet Canadian documentarian Raymonde Provencher profiles three Ugandan women who navigated both sides of that divide. Captured as little children and turned into “wives”-cum-killing machines for the Lord’s Resistance Army, all three actively advocate peace after being liberated. A valuable distaff complement to the numerous docus concerning boy soldiers, framing its horror stories against a striking, verdant countryside, this moving docu, co-produced by Canada’s National Film Board, should receive global airplay.Grace, kidnapped from Catholic boarding school, escaped the rebels after seven months to eventually become an international spokesperson for the girl soldiers who suffered untold mental and physical hardships — forced into battle with their children (conceived through rape) strapped to their backs, only to be ostracized upon their return home. Such was the fate of Milly, who founded Empowering Hands, an educational support group helping to reintegrate ex-killers. Empowering Hands even welcomes Lucy, Milly’s co-captive who rose in the LRA’s ranks to cruelly abuse her. But Lucy must also come to terms with her demons.
A Macumba DOC, National Film Board of Canada production. Produced by Raymonde Provencher, Colette Loumede, Johanne Bergeron. Executive producers, Robert Corneillier, Patricio Henriquez, Provencher. Directed, written by Raymonde Provencher.
Camera (color, HD), Francois Beauchemin; editors, Marina Popova, Denis Boisvert. Reviewed at Hamptons Film Festival, Oct. 10, 2010. (Also in Hot Docs, SilverDocs film festivals.) Running time: 73 MIN.
(English, Acholi dialogue)