More than 300 000 children presently serve in armies in over 40 countries. Based on the true story of screenwriter Oscar Torres's embattled childhood Luis Mandoki's Innocent Voices is the poignant tale of Chava (Carlos Padilla) an eleven-year-old boy who suddenly becomes the ""man of the house"" after his father abandons the family in the middle of a civil war. In El Salvador in the 1980s the government's armed forces are already recruiting twelve year olds rousting them out of their classes at the local middle school. If he is lucky Chava has just one year of... innocence left one year before he too will be conscripted to fight the government's battle against the peasant rebels of the FMLN. Chava's life becomes a game of survival not only from the bullets of the escalating war but also from the dispiriting effects of daily violence. As he hustles to find work to help his single mother pay the bills and experiences the pangs of first love for a beautiful classmate Chava's tiny home village becomes both playground and battlefield. Armed only with the love of his mother (Leonor Varela) and a small radio that broadcasts a forbidden anthem of love and peace and faced with the impossible choice of joining either the army or the rebels Chava finds the courage to keep his heart open and his spirit alive in his race against time. [show more]
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Harrowing drama based on true events. In the 1980s, El Salvador is in the middle of a desperate civil war. Chava (Carlos Padilla) is a young boy who finds himself having to take care of his mother after his father abandons them. As the government forces and the communist rebels battle for supremacy, they start forcibly conscripting children to fight in their armies. While the war rages closer to Chava's village, Chava is forced to choose which side he must fight on, while keeping hope alive.