Review: Beatriz's War

Ethnic Storytelling  

Filmed in East Timor with native actors, this film is a re-telling of a 17th century French incident, best known to us from the movie “The Return of Martin Guerre”.
This version of the story reenacts atrocities commited by Indonesian soldiers in what became known as The Village of Widows. Beatriz is one of the widows. Cohabiting with soldiers from the occupying army is the only way some women can stay alive. Beatriz turns the situation into a kind of positive by telling the others that the only way to fight off the Indonesians is to produce more men, that is to have as many babies as they can by whatever men they can find so that they can raise guerrilla fighters. The film continues this way through the 24 years of the Indonesian occupation after which …
Collaborators and freedom fighters returning from the mountains intermix. Beatriz's husband returns. There are issues here that have to be handled within age-old traditions. One of those issues concerns whether the returned husband is the real thing.
“Beatriz's War” was co-directed and co-written by Australians and East Timorese. It is a low budget film produced within a nascent film industry. Don't expect polish.
Currently the only ways to see this film are on Youtube and with a DVD available from the Australian company Fair Trade Films. Y
J Adrian Zimmer
Watch and Talk  (more reviews)        A Guerra da Beatriz  (Youtube)