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POV: Lost Boys of Sudan (2003)

Peter Kon Dut , Santino Majok Chuor , Jon Shenk , Megan Mylan  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Kon Dut, Santino Majok Chuor
  • Directors: Jon Shenk, Megan Mylan
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002V7NYI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,989 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "POV: Lost Boys of Sudan" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Filmmaker interview
  • Deleted scenes
  • "Where are they now?" updates
  • Bonus Lost Boys music
  • Filmmaker biographies

Editorial Reviews

Lost Boys of Sudan, which premiered on PBS's P.O.V. series in 2003, is a gripping documentary about young refugees from the Sudanese conflict as well as a moving story of survival and acclimation in a strange and daunting land. The film centers around two young Dinka tribesmen who must flee a vicious civil war in their homeland and risk thirst, starvation, and animal attack to reach refugee camps thousands of miles away in Kenya in Ethiopia. Once there, the "lost boys'" journey begins again, as they are resettled in Houston, Texas, and must start new lives in a completely alien country. Eventually, their adjustment to 21st century life becomes the film's main focus; can they join American society and still retain their tribal connections? Told in simple but powerful images, Lost Boys of Sudan affectingly addresses themes of home, acceptance, family, and what it means to be a member of society–-both America and the global community. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Winner of an Independent Spirit Award and named Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, LOST BOYS OF SUDAN follows two teenage Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America, offering a gripping and sobering peek into the myth of the American Dream. In the late ‘80s, Islamic fundamentalists in Sudan waged war on the country’s separatists, leaving behind over 20,000 male orphans, otherwise known as "lost boys." For those who survived this traumatic ordeal and found their way to refugee camps, som were chosen to participate in a resettlement program in America--a distant place so presumably full of hope and opportunity that the Sudanese sometimes call it Heaven. But what if a free ticket to "Heaven" turned out to be anything but? Sidestepping conventional voice-over narration in favor of real-time, close-quarters poignancy, LOST BOYS OF SUDAN focuses on Santino and Peter, members of the Dinka tribe, during their first life-altering year in the United States. Safe at last from physical danger--but a world away from home--the boys must grapple with extreme cultural differences as they come to understand both the abundance and alienation of contemporary American life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Sudanese boys' view of America. Fascinating! November 13, 2004
The young boys of the Dinka tribe in the Sudan herd goats. That's why they were not in their village when the murderers came in the early 1990s. They had to flee. It was a long and harrowing journey with little food. Many of them died. And yet many managed to cross the river to Kenya and make their way to the refugee camps.

Ten years later, they had grown to young manhood, sharing a sense of family with the other refugees. In 2001, sponsored by various Christian groups, 4000 of these boys came to the United States. This is that story.

We meet them first in the refugee camp where they hope to be chosen to come to America. Then we see them on the big airplane. A half dozen are sent to Houston. Others are sent to Kansas City and a other states. We watch them learn to cook on an electric stove, shop in the supermarket, and attend church services. They stand out, even among African Americans because their skin is almost coal black.

One of the boys in Houston gets a job in a factory. He sends money back home and also buys a car, which he needs to get to work. We watch him take his driver's test, fail it, and then receive tickets for driving without a license. His small salary also pays the rent.

One of the boys goes to Kansas. Here he enters High School as a junior. We see him among his (mostly white) classmates and see him try to make friends. He tries out for the basketball team, goes to parties and feels lonely all the time as he is so very different from those around him.

We see all the boys meet at a YWCA summer camp, where they go swimming, sing songs from their homeland and share stories about America. They were all surprised how hard it is to work and go to school and pay the rent.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Information But Not-So-Great Documentary September 21, 2005
For me, the thing that makes a documentary enjoyable is a.) Is the information new and engaging? and b.) Is it presented in a coherent and even-flowing fashion? On the first point, THE LOST BOYS OF SUDAN delivers. We get to hear about the little known religious war in Sudan that killed (and continues to kill) millions of people. Most of those that were murdered (let's call it what it is) were adults. And left behind are their children who flee to refugee camps. Tens of thousands of children made it to these tent cities where they've grown up or died. But a few of them are lucky enough to get access to America, and fly into Houston to become U.S. citizens. This documentary follows the lives of two of THE LOST BOYS and we get to see how leaving their native lands affects them, and how American culture clashes but ultimately enfolds them. Great information.

On point "b", though, the film gets a serious thumbs down. The editing was terrible, a patchwork quilt of events rather than a concise look at these boys' lives. The information was just too broad. They show us their struggle with grades, language, driving, sports, living together, paying rent, jobs, trying to find girlfriends, etc., etc., etc. I would've liked to have seen them focus on a select few items and get us into the microcosm of these issues. For instance, I would've enjoyed learning more about their struggles to get into schools while working at the same time. But all we get is one basic phone call that one of the boy's makes where he talks to family about this issue ...and that's it. We don't hear anymore about it. There were other instances in the film where similar things occurred, too (subjects brought up and then suddenly dropped.)

But even with these problems, the documentary is interesting and informative.

For truly excellent documentaries, though, try DARK DAYS or BORN INTO BROTHELS.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful and compelling documentary...... January 15, 2006
For anyone unfamiliar with the plight of the numerous lost boys of Sudan, I really reccomend you check out this powerful, compelling, cautionary and very educational film, that looks at two young men who made it out of the turbulence of their country and were able to make a life for themselves in the United States. The Lost Boys consist of some 200,000 (or more) young Sudanese refugees, orphaned, left orphaned and alone in the African nation of Sudan. One connection out of the poverty and desolation of their country, is if they are able to obtain sponsorship through church-based programs in the United States. The two boys profiled in this film were recipients of this sponsorship.

While one journeys to Texas, to seek out work, buy a car and also attend classes at the local high school, the other's journey takes him to a small (predominantly Caucasian) town in Kansas, who attempts to integrate himself into a foreign, and a culture for which he finds himself, both, daunted and isolated.

I believe everyone should see this film, and, in fact, I think it should be implemented in the high school curriculum as a pre-requisite for all students. It is important that we all receive an education in the personal struggles of refugees, like these two young men. This film only scratches the surface, into this subject matter. There are so many important stories, like this, that need to be told!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Informational Tool, Subtitle Malfunction July 5, 2006
This film provides a great informational tool about the struggles and opportunities of refugees trying to make it on their own in a new place. As a history teacher, I am excited to show this to my class to demonstrate assimilation and acculturization. My one problem, and this is a big problem, is that a great deal of the subtitles go way off of the TV. This made seeing what they were saying difficult. I couldn't even see the information at the end. I have a pretty big TV, so I'm sure that this might be a persistent problem. Also, the deleted scenes have no subtitles. But all in all, this is a great glimpse of their lives. The most eye-opening is the tension between African Americans and the Africans. Ironically, the boys from Africa got along better with their white friends than the African Americans. Also interesting is the "help" the church tried to give. They keep delivering all of this furniture to the boys' tiny apartment, yet the lady from the church (who looks just like actress Shelly Long) virtually ignores their pleas for help in finding jobs and educational opportunities. She walks away from them and says "They're angry"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Boys of Sudan
I learned so much from this movie--how the lost boys survived without parents, how those who made it through the jungle to the refugee camps were saved, how they were chosen to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Keepitreal
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking movie
These boys showed unbelievable bravery and strength. It brought awareness to culture differences and the struggle of these youths. It was amazing!
Published 6 months ago by FaithGirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Moving
I had seen a small part on 60 minutes about the "Lost Boys of Sudan" and found it very moving. I couldn't wait to receive my copy of this video. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Audrey E. Merrill
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
This is a good movie. It was eye-opening on many levels. It would have been even better, if there had been more in-depth and cohesive documentation.
Published 9 months ago by Lori
5.0 out of 5 stars moive
love the dvd,love the dvd i don't think a person should have to put on hers or his thinking cap if they don't want to
Published 12 months ago by Monica
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting perspective on America
Several young men, the Lost Boys of Sudan, are brought to America. This documentary follows them in their day-to-day lives, struggling to fit in, affording basic necessities and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by X
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't what I expected.
I wanted to show this to my students after we read "Long Walk to Water", but it was a little too graphic with vocabulary that I didn't want to expose my students to.
Published 12 months ago by Sheila D. walls
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for granddaughter
My wife is a school teacher. She uses this as part of her social studies class. An excellent story, although it is also a tragic and sad story.
Published 13 months ago by J. Novotny
5.0 out of 5 stars the perfect deal
the delivery was very quick, quicker than I could ever image!And the film is a masterpiece that every human being should see and meditate on...
Published on June 24, 2010 by Francesca Bertolini
4.0 out of 5 stars I wished it was longer and that there were follow-up sequels like the...
I would love to see how these guys mature over many years. I hope they're encouraged to pursue medical careers because Africa needs more teaching hospitals and more science... Read more
Published on May 2, 2010 by Cleo
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