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War Dance

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 lives. 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.

Amazon.com

The superb documentary War/Dance reveals the redemptive power of music, even in the most horrific places. Focusing on three children in their early teens in war-torn Uganda--stoic Nancy, driven Dominic, and soft-spoken Rose--War/Dance tracks the efforts of the school of a refugee camp called Patongo to compete in Uganda's countrywide music competition. The contrasts are staggering; in interviews, the children describe their parents being killed by rebel soldiers, then footage of rehearsal shows them joyfully singing and dancing with their classmates. Some of the sequences are harrowing (a scene where Nancy grieves for her murdered father is painful to watch), but without them, we wouldn't understand how hard-won are the feelings of pride and accomplishment as their school performs for the competition's judges. The built-in structure of the competition gives this documentary a clear and engrossing storyline, much like Spellbound or Mad Hot Ballroom, but the heartbreaking circumstances and the emotional openness of the three teenagers makes War/Dance even more compelling. In one particularly striking scene, Dominic talks to a captured rebel officer, hoping to learn if his brother is still alive. As they talk, the soldier--who's around the age Dominic's brother might be--tries to be helpful, and explains almost offhandedly why the brother is most likely dead. The casualness of this conversation, devoid of Hollywood histrionics, speaks volumes about how violence has infiltrated these people's daily lives. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dominic, Nancy, Rose, Jane Adong, Kitara Coldwell
  • Directors: Andrea Nix, Sean Fine
  • Writers: Andrea Nix, Sean Fine
  • Producers: Andrea Nix, Albie Hecht, Andrew Herwitz, Daniel Katz, Douglas Eger
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZN71H2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,529 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War Dance" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Beachy on April 7, 2008
Format: DVD
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!!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Super Shopper on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Spacecat47 on January 24, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr Tathata on April 19, 2010
Format: DVD
Here is a story that is almost inconceivable to a person like me; middle aged, American, living in the suburbs of the nation's Capital. I had no idea. No idea. And I am grateful to these children for sharing their story, a story of children being stolen from their parents to build a rebel army. Children systematically dehumanized, led to murder without remorse with a band of rebels that teaches death instead of reading writing and rithmetic. This is not an unknown phenomenon. It is not exclusive to Africa and not exclusive to modern times. I was reminded of the Khmer Rouge and the killing fields of Cambodia. And yet. And yet. Some government soldiers offering security, United Nations trucks providing food deliveries, and a school for orphaned children provides some protection for a little flame of hope in the midst of the most dire circumstances imaginable. To see these kids progress along a path of healing and reconciliation through singing, dancing, and music making is a thing of beauty, all the more starkly contrasted with the circumstances of their rescue. It demonstrates the importance of culture, or music, of art, of self expression, as a part of the natural health of the human mind and spirit, and it shows the possibility of transformative redemption in the face of a brutal, predatory reality. The story of these children would be beautiful in it's own right, but to see it in the context of their suffering and deprivation heightens the ironic sense of appreciation for all their accomplishments. Their story cannot help but leave one feeling hopeful for the future, and hopeful for these kids, some of whom seem destined to become peacemakers, after knowing the fathomless despair of violent conflict in a way that no child should ever be forced to realize.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on June 28, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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