Beginning as a hard-edged depiction of children abducted in an impoverished African village and forced to become child soldiers, the story quickly expands into multiple layers from hallucinatory to familial. The journey is never easy for Komona, one of the abducted children, said to have magic in her because she manages to survive a barrage of bullets in a jungle ambush. However, director Kim Nguyen gives us far more than a film of hardship, with rich, detailed views of both African fighting and the daily life that goes on around it. Some of the characters still seem like archetypes, but Rachel Mwanza’s performance as Komona beautifully carries us into all the different facets of Africa that Nguyen tries to explore.
Sept. 14, 9 p.m., Elgin; Sept. 15, 3 p.m., TIFF Bell Lightbox.