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War Dance (2008)

Dominic , Nancy , Andrea Nix , Sean Fine  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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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 (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZN71H2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,187 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War Dance" on IMDb

Special Features


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.

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Sombering April 7, 2008
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
5.0 out of 5 stars War Dance 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Another overlooked Sundance film January 24, 2008
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, hopeful, somber, glorious April 19, 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch. Listen. Learn. June 28, 2008
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 months ago by John Cullom
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to understand life in Africa, watch this
Inspiring and heart-warming
Published 3 months ago by Antoni Bazia
5.0 out of 5 stars True African experience
I loved this movie. Who knew a dance could set you free from oppression! Very moving and rewarding experience for me.
Published 4 months ago by Arlivia N. Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a suburb but heartbreaking documentary.
I regret that it took me years to watch this documentary. I thought the picture on the cover was of an adult dancer. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Marcia Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Thumbs Up
An honest, heart pounding look at life in the government camps and the undefeatable
challenges to the human spirit to overcome.
Published 11 months ago by Donna Scira
3.0 out of 5 stars Good.
Like to watch these true stories. These kids are terrific. Everyone needs to see things like this. Will watch again.
Published 13 months ago by Bonita Ames
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative
This is a true work of art - I have the documentary and purchased one for a friend. It is moving and redemptive in its qualities. Great seller, great product.
Published 15 months ago by TessFromSOAS_06
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Pretty impressive.
OK, first things first. Like every great documentary, you can't help but wonder if it wasn't staged, I mean, just a little bit. And the first half of the movie is tough to watch. Read more
Published 16 months ago by John Mundie
4.0 out of 5 stars War Dance
An inspiring movie that I was glad to be able to watch! The people who produced it are to be congratulated!
Published 19 months ago by Lewis Beck
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story
War Dance is more than just a documentary. It opens up a view of this culture and these children that is totally new to our culture. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sofie
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