War/Dance, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix

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For nearly 20 years Northern Uganda has been devastated by Africa’s longest-running conflict, The Lord’s Resistance Army has engaged in a continual armed uprising against the Ugandan government. The poignant documentary War/Dance takes place in the remote northern Uganda refugee camp of Patongo where thousands of civilians have been subjected to unimaginable injustice.

War/Dance tells the story of three children from the Acholi tribe who are living in a
refugee camp in their own land. The film tells their stories of disparity, courage and survival all the while illustrating their memories and capturing their drive and wishfulness for a better future.

Dominic is a 14-year-old who plays the xylophone, (a musical instrument with traditional significance in Africa). He defines himself simply as a musician. After being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, he was forced to do things that will haunt him forever. After his escape, he found himself through music.
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A 13-year old choir singer Rose has witnessed the murders of her beloved parents and is living the same life of survival along with her friends Dominic and Nancy. The 14 year old Bwola dancer (Acholi cultural royal dance, which is traditionally performed when welcoming a special guest). Nancy has survived the loss of her mother who was kidnapped by the rebels, and the killing of her father.

From the Patongo camp, these are just a few children who qualified to compete for the first time at the national music and dance competition in the Uganda’s capital city Kampala. The event will host more than twenty thousand Ugandan schools during this competition.

War/Dance combines mesmerizing cinematography with incredible shots of the Patongo refugee camp and its landscapes. But beyond the beauty, the documentary puts a light on the horrific situation in Uganda and how music inspires children to find ways once again to be proud of their country and tribe once.

The back-stories of the children seem a bit scri pted but are very powerful. They find a way into the viewer’s soul. The blend of music, the traditional African dance and the tribal culture captures the imagination. The richly composed visuals of different sunset locations and African landscapes are breathtaking and give the film a powerful contrast to the darkness that has occurred in those lands.

The husband & wife team Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine have independently written and produced documentaries for Frontline, National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. War/Dance is their first feature documentary together.

With stunning photography, beautifully mood-style reenactments and heartfelt narrative, War/Dance is a gratifying documentary film that has an important message of hope and wishfulness in the anticipation of a better tomorrow.

Directors: Sean Fine & Andrea Nix
Writers: Sean Fine & Andrea Nix
Cinematographer: Sean Fine
Genre: Documentary
Runtime: 105 min
Country: USA
Language: English

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Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars

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Margaret Madrilejos

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