Little Heroes’ Voices

At present, Colombia is the most violent country of Latin America. Each year, guerrilla conflicts take their terrible toll in the form of thousands of dead people. For that matter, unrest and instability have prevailed in the country for more than half a century. That is why the first Colombian 3D feature deserves great attention; instead of offering a monumental action spectacle, the animated documentary Little Voices depicts the world of children.

Little Voices / Colombia’s children are most affected by the unsettled situation in the state. Besides violent death and mutilation, the children are further endangered by parent loss, family displacement, kidnapping, absence of education and primarily life in the dark shadow of fear, personified by the armed man. About a million of Colombian children are estimated to be affected by war. In his debut feature, documentarist Eduardo Carrillo, in co-operation with producer Oscar Andrade, lets some of them openly speak about the joys and sorrows of their lives. In this way, he continues his short film of the same name, extending both its length and thematic range. As he says, “not only those who die but also those who kill rank among the war victims.” In case of children and adolescents, this is even more true. That is why the director has included the story of an adolescent poor boy who was tempted to enter the guerrilla units of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Like the other stories, this one, too, has occurred in the time of the political onset of current president Alvaro Uribe, an advocate of the hard line approach to the negotiations with the militants. It is this very conflict of the military units with the FARC guerrillas that represents the tragic turning point in the lives of the protagonists of Carrillo’s film.
Telling their stories, the children focus on powerful details, be they accounts of the happy times of their childhood or the cruel moments of their suffering. Their narratives are completed by the visual style of the film partially represented by the stop motion illustrations drawn by the film protagonists. Although the film has a certain tendency towards film mannerism due to the original 3D format (such as long dolly tracks), the stylized form of the film does not predominate over its documentary value. In this respect, it is very important that the message of hope the film results in is not forced by its attractive visual style but can rather be heard in the “little” heroes’ voices.

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