Screenwriter Oscar Torres based this gripping drama on his own childhood in rural El Salvador, where children as young as 12 were conscripted into government forces battling the insurgent FMLN. Carlos Padilla Lenero gives a stirring performance as the young hero, who watches his friends disappear into the jaws of civil war and tries to protect his mother and siblings in a village where cross fire has become a way of life. The most memorable image finds Lenero and his peers hiding from the army on the tin rooftops of the village, staring quietly at the sky as the soldiers search for them below. Luis Mandoki directed and cowrote the screenplay. In Spanish with subtitles. R, 120 min.
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