CONFLICT: Decades after many young Peruvian women were raped by army soldiers, they take the perpetrators to court in the name of justice and dignity.
Carmen Gray
Carmen Gray
Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: November 18, 2020

Magda Surichaqui Cóndor was just a teenager when soldiers arrived in her village in the Peruvian province of Huancavelica. They’d been sent to root out terrorists in the area, as the Shining Path leftist revolutionary organisation were waging a highlands guerrilla war against the government, and it soon became clear that they had no qualms in using their sweeping powers of identity checks, interrogation, and detainment as a pretext to rape and humiliate local women, and force them into sexual relationships. A period of constant fear and sustained abuse started for Magda after a lieutenant summoned her to the military base and raped her nearby, then regularly sought her out in the fields or wherever else she happened to be. Nature being indifferent to her desire to be free from her tormentor, her belly grew, and she became one of the numerous women to give birth in the «year of the soldiers’ babies,» as the local civil registrar calls 1986. Three decades later, she is stoically fighting with a lawsuit for acknowledgment of her violation, and for public recognition of her dignity — a struggle filmmaker Patricia Wiesse Risso charts in Soldier’s Woman, screening at IDFA.

The film achieves close personal access to Magda and three female friends who have been through equivalent experiences at the hands of the army, and who come to visit her. As …

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