Wit licht (The Silent Army)
For director Van de Velde, this production meant a return to the Africa of his youth. Wit Licht, mostly shot in South Africa and refugee camps in Uganda, was initiated by War Child ambassador Marco Borsato to bring the fate of child soldiers to our attention. The singer makes his feature film debut as a Dutch cook who receives distinguished guests in his restaurant in East Africa. Once, even the rebel leader who now terrorizes the country sat at his table.
When during an attack on a neighbouring village his son's friend is abducted and drafted as a child soldier, the cook, who lost his wife the previous year, takes a drastic decision. He sets out to rescue the kidnapped boy.
Shocking images of the treatment of the children and other cruelties are the overture to a full measure of action. A re-edited version (without music or flashbacks), under the title The Silent Army, was selected for the programme section Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.