We Women Warriors

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We Women Warriors
Directed by Nicole Karsin
Independent Pictures
Opens August 10, IFC Center

Weaving provides a metaphor for the inextricable bond between Colombia's indigenous people and their land and culture—and between the single mothers widowed by regional conflict—in Nicole Karsin's assured documentary. The story concerns three female activists working to help their countrymen and traditions survive amid ceaseless war between guerrilla rebels and government forces. Although hailing from different parts of Colombia, Doris, Ludis, and Flor Ilva face their homeland's bloodbaths by assuming tribal leadership posts. Each advocates the peaceful expulsion from their villages of armed gangs, whose violence is funded by a cocaine trade that, through its use of coca leaves, is predicted on exploitation of the environment. The director's DV cinematography can be rough and ungainly, but it provides sterling glimpses of both family intimacy and its larger social context—in which caring for children and protecting the land are equated as analogous endeavors—as well as of bombing and intimidation by thuggish insurgents and paramilitary groups. Meanwhile, through Ludis's young son, Albeiro, heartbreakingly weeping to the camera over his father's murder and later confessing his desire to avenge that crime by joining the rebels, Karsin's intimate film captures a stinging sense of civil war's true cost.

 
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