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POV: Lost Boys of Sudan

4.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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(Nov 02, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

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.

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

Special Features

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

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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002V7NYI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,493 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "POV: Lost Boys of Sudan" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 13, 2004
Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD
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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i am a realist in terms of movies, and i prefer documentaries and foreign (as opposed to u.s.), films. this provides me with more rounded experience and insight into the world than the fiction-told stories of movies made in america. this movie was a chance find since i had a gift card to a store nearby.

the sudanese refugees have a heartfelt story to be told, and fortunately some folks from cali decided it should be shown by following around two main characters who are refugees of the dinka tribe from sudan. a group of boys were granted refuge in america, and they were followed and filmed for the first yr they were here. the films shows you the problems refugees face when given sanctuary in america. lots of people may think its wonderful and they should be thrilled to be given this opportunity but i guarentee after watching this you will be wondering whether they are actually better off here or back in sudan. of course some of the basic necessities that we have in america as opposed to what they were used to in the refugee camp in kenya may be an improvement in their lives, but the struggle to have and keep these basics is extremely difficult, when you dont speak the language very well, are not accostomed to the society, people, habits, and culture of america. prime difficulties were interaction with others, as one character was in kansas city where he stuck out horribly among the mainly white folks of the area, and how he made friends, was able to attend school, and find employment, though occasionally being discriminated against.
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