A 13-year-old soldier, María (Karen Torres), is ordered to carry her commanding officer’s baby into battle with her. (The advantaged birth-mother is a fellow platoon-member.) Never once questioning the assignment is either an indication of María’s extreme loyalty to duty or a preoccupation with keeping secret her own pregnancy by a macho fellow guerilla. An original take on war films to say the least, Colombian director Jose Luis Rugeles second feature presents a vision of combat that’s never once jeopardized by maudlinism. María is paired with Yuldor (Erik Ruiz), a pint-size battle buddy scarcely half her age and size. Entomological cutaways of hungry ants doing most of the heavy lifting are a fitting metaphor for this child’s army. As the sweltering Colombian rainforest becomes the personification of a threatening norm, Torres’s growing anxiety translates to audience tension. This helps to plaster the cracks that form the vague motivation for the conflict. (2016) — Scott Marks
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