Set in war-raved Northern Uganda, the award-winning WAR DANCE will touch your heart with a real-life story about a group of children whose love of music brings joy, excitement and hope back into their poverty-stricken live... more »s. Three children who have suffered horrific brutalities momentarily forget their struggles as they participate in music, song and dance at their school. Invited to compete in a prestigious music festival in their nation?s capitol, their historic journey is a stirring tale about the power of the human spirit to triumph against tremendous odds.« less
"The cinematography of Africa and war torn Uganda is beautiful, amazing, and saddening in "War Dance". It serves a a bleak backdrop for an enlightening film set in a refuge camp where a group of children, scarred by civil war, learn their tribal dance to compete in the national dance competition.
The most heart-breaking and genuine moment of War Dance is when a former child soldier confronts a captured rebel soldier about why he (the soldier) participated in kidnapping children and indoctrinating them into becoming children soldiers. The bravery of that small child and the empty soulless response of the soldier were the most powerful scene's in a film full of them. I highly recommend this film!!"
Another overlooked Sundance film
Lisa Hunt | Boise, Idaho | 01/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film at the Sundance film festival in 2007 and was completely blown away by the originality of weaving together documentary, dance, music, war, and horrific pain suffered by lovely children. I don't believe it gained any wide popularity which is unfortunate because while it is a heart-wrenching story, there is so much joy and hope at the end of the movie, you start to believe anything is possible...beautiful cinematography (may inspire my own journey to Uganda), amazing music, and just an overall lovely film."
Shirley | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was by far, hands down the best documentary film I've seen. The content needs to be brought to the awareness of all people in possesion of a TV/DVD player. The cinematography and editing was beautiful and amazing. It looked and felt like I was across the other side of the world there with these beautiful children. The stories of the children presented from their perspective in their own words will move you to tears and simply must be seen to understand and feel what they have suffered through and experienced. What I loved most about this film besides the stories, the people, the music and dance, is the message of hope and healing that is possible for these children with a little help from people who care enough to do something."
Will bring tears to your eyes
S. Brooks | Los Angeles, Ca | 06/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I invited a friend to see this movie at a small theater by my house because she and I both have a heart for Africa. We sat in the empty theater, moved by the stories and weeping during the hard parts.
Shortly after, I left for Tanzania (Africa) and spent 3 months working with orphans and vulnerable children (living with aids / affected by aids). If you haven't experienced African culture, you might not fully understand the families, the children nor the music competition (I saw a comment that talked bad about the families being so harsh).
Africa is torn apart by the aids epidemic, poverty, famine and war. And the the children are left with little to no hope. They realize that their one key to success is education but even that is limited to the rich or sponsored children since "public" school still needs to be paid for.
This documentary does well to showcase how the children of Uganda are affected by this horrible war and how they have such a hope in a music competition so they can be seen as more than children of war.
After watching this documentary, I recommend researching the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), this war, northern Uganda and going to the film makers web page. Documentaries such as this are making changes to a country that needs our help. The more we are aware, the better it will get."
Watch. Listen. Learn.
B. Merritt | WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California | 06/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nominated at the 2008 Oscars in the Best Documentary category, it is easy to see why WAR DANCE was on top of that list. Although it lost out to Taxi To the Dark Side, War Dance need not hang its head.
Little known subjects are a great thing to learn about, and this is War Dance's biggest strength. The civil war in Uganda has raged for over 20 years, but few know what it's about or its effects on the population. One look at War Dance will give you some chilling insights.
Focusing on three children within the Patongo refugee camp of northern Uganda, all of the kids have lost at least one parent, sibling or family member to the horrors of the war, and have been forced into this government protected camp for basic survival. Life is dank, depressing, and full of fear. Until one day the children discover that their little school has qualified for the finals at the annual Kampala Music Festival. And with them will go Dominic, a boy forced into being a child soldier for the rebels and desperately trying to locate his lost brother. A gripping scene between himself and a rebel leader tells Dominic much of what he already suspected. Nancy, a tough young lady, will go the Kampala, too. And with her she brings the hopes and dreams of her father who was hacked to death by machetes (the visit to his grave is sure to have many reaching for the tissue box). Then we have Rose, the soft-spoken one who is obviously in a funk of depression. But to watch her dance is to see the lights burst forth from her eyes.
The documentary is exceptionally well put together. The cinematography of the surrounding jungle is awe-inspiring, as are the tough scenes where children are put in front of the camera and asked to explain how they feel ("I can't wait to see what peace looks like," says one of them as they prepare to compete in Kampala).
Shown as a sort of David and Goliath tale, one can't help but see the infiltration of Christianity on these people's lives, too. Their clothing, their "prayers", and many other aspects speak to the westernization of their culture. One of the competition categories is even called "Western Choral Music." But the big winner in the categories is obviously the native dance sequence where Dominic shines as the xylophone player, Nancy dances and spins with delight, and Rose comes back to life. The other schools, initially sneering at this "tiny school from the north", begin to respect them.
But can these first timers win anything at a festival where they compete against schools of much greater renown? You'll have to watch and find out. And you should. The tales of torture mixed with the joy of music and dance are something everyone should see. And you might even learn something you didn't know about in another part of the world."