Short Film Saturdays: “Children of War”

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Synopsis: Family and history go hand-in-hand. In this Modern-Western, witness the duel within the bloodline of a small coal mining family born and bred by the rigor within the mountains of Miner’s City – known today as War, West Virginia. Slavy Freeman, the patriarch, forced to confront family secrets, must choose between reunification or the complete dismemberment of the Freeman bloodline.

Length: 20 minutes

Rating: ★★★

I was sent a link to watch this film by its director, producer and editor Apolonia Davalos ahead of its screening at Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival. It’s very exciting helping to promote an indie film and I hope the festival goes well! Thank you to Apolonia for trusting me to review your work.

I’m always fascinated by other cultures. Because of this, I was really drawn to Children of War as it’s based in a mining town called War in West Virginia. As someone who has lived their whole life in the UK and has never holidayed outside of Europe, I don’t know a lot about American culture, besides what’s been shown to me in the media. A lot of the time we’re only really exposed to big cities and popular states, so it’s refreshing to see a different side to the country.  I thought the cinematography in this film was particularly gorgeous and very well filmed too. It captures a side of America we rarely get to see. I wish we could have seen more of the town because it’s something that really captivated me. This is a film with strong familial ties, who are very proud of who they are and what they do. But, like all families, nobody is perfect and a secret soon emerges.

The acting in this film is very good, even if the dialogue is a little too quiet at times and hard to make out. I especially liked the father-son bond in this film and thought it worked well against a quiet, southern American backdrop.  The soundtrack is also well put together and complements the genre and themes. The film is described as a modern Western, and that’s certainly true. The iconography in Children of War definitely bares resemblance to the golden age of Western films.

I did find the non-linear narrative to be quite confusing and something that I had to really focus on, but I also feel that it was the right way to present the film. My only worry is that audiences may be confused the first time around and it may require a second watch, but that doesn’t detract from the emotional storyline.

Overall I did enjoy this film and the characters in it, but it definitely is one you have to pay close attention to if you want to get the full effect. A longer runtime may have benefited the film and allowed the narrative to become clearer, but Apolonia Davalos is definitely a talented individual and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future!

You can watch the trailer for Children of War below, and please check out the filmmaker at http://apolonia.weebly.com/ 

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