Innocent Voices (2004) — El Salvador
"We here are all scared of turning twelve," explains Chava, "because that's when the army takes you. I have one year left." Innocent Voices takes place in El Salvador's civil war that raged from 1980–1992, but it could have been set in any of the dozens of countries around the world where governments and "liberation" armies recruit child soldiers. In El Salvador, the authoritarian government, with a billion dollars of aid and training from the United States ("They're training our soldiers to kill us."), forcibly conscripted young boys to fight its civil war against the FMLN. Since his father left for the US, eleven-year-old Chava is the "man of the house." The film revolves around the plight of his extended family. Chava follows his Uncle Beto and sides with the rebels, but his mother Kella observes that they, too, conscript their kids. Innocent Voices reinforces the truth that in all modern wars, the biggest losers by far are innocent civilians. Co-writer Oscar Orlando Torres based this award-winning film on his own memoirs. In Spanish, with English sub-titles.