Sixteen (15)

Director: Rob Brown
Starring: Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Rachael Stirling, Rosie Day, Fady Elsayed, Sam Spruell

Jumah is about to turn 16 and is already in need of a fresh start. Burdened with the shameful legacy of a past as a child soldier in the Congo, he lives with his adoptive mother in west London, where he struggles to keep a lid on his history of violence. One night, enjoying a rare carefree evening out with a new friend, Jumah witnesses something that draws him seemingly inescapably into his old ways. As he and others around him begin to question whether he can ever stop being a soldier, he’s set on a path to find out who he truly wishes to be.

I first saw this film at the London Film Festival in October 2013. Interesting brit film which asks the question we all hope we’ll never be faced with, ‘What would you do if you were a witness to a crime, and then became a target?’ Add to that Jumah’s history of being a child soldier, and it adds an unexpected twist to his predicament. But this is a thinking over brawn film, very gently done. Superb acting from Roger Jean Nsengiyumva. Lots of shots in West London, off and around Ladbroke Grove.

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