Based on the autobiography of Senait Mehari, former child soldier in the Eritrean Liberation Front, this well-meaning dramatisation (from the co-director of ‘The Story of the Weeping Camel’) falls into the trap of providing decorative exotic suffering for middle-class Western audiences to tut-tut over. Centered on an archetypal big-brown-eyed wise-child performance from ten-year-old Letekidan Micael (heading a cast of non-professional Eritreans who defied their government to take part), it starts with plucky little Awet in the safety of an Italian-run convent school, where she learns moral precepts that stand her in good stead when her ex-freedom fighter father hands her over to one of the two rival liberation armies locked in conflict over the best way to escape the Ethiopian yoke. The sight of children taking part in a military campaign is milked for shock value, needless to say, while the pint-sized heroine’s defiant adherence to humanitarian values renders her more a stand-in for arthouse viewers’ right-on worldview than a real child in a specific dramatic situation.
Heart of Fire
|Release date:||Friday September 25 2009|
Cast and crew