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War Dance a.k.a. “War/Dance”

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for some thematic material involving descriptions of war atrocities

Reviewed by: Rosemarie Ute Hoffman

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 9, 2007 (limited)
Copyright, Sundance Channel Copyright, Sundance Channel Copyright, Sundance Channel Copyright, Sundance Channel Copyright, Sundance Channel Copyright, Sundance Channel
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Sundance Channel

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Dancing in the Bible

The Ten Commandments

War in the Bible

Director: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine
Producer: Erik Cleage, Douglas Eger, Sean Fine, Albie Hecht, Andrew Herwitz, Daniel Katz, Kari Kim, Susan MacLaury, Stephen Nemeth, Andrea Nix Fine, Josie Swantek, Mark Urman
Distributor: ThinkFilm / Sundance Channel

“The war stole everything, except their music.”

“War Dance” is a riveting film that exposes the shadows of horrific war crimes in northern Uganda using real-life experiences of children, while expressing the power of music to transcend such atrocities.

Filmmakers, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, bring a heroic story of three children to the screen with Nancy, Dominic, and Rose who communicate chilling details of their journey. Although we closely examine their human spirits being tested and tried, the Fine’s golden threads to captivate culture, tradition, ancestry, prayer, faith, and hope are moving.

The “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) has persecuted the Acholi tribe for over twenty years (since 1986)—and it continues in spite of peace talks with the government. The LRA is supposedly fighting against the Uganda government and would like to replace it with a government that follows the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, the LRA has no set political agenda—thus the abduction of children and killing continues. The commander of the LRA is also from the same tribe of Acholi. The war has forced nearly two million Acholi to be refugees in their own country in government protected camps. Patongo camp is the most isolated and at risk.

Patongo Primary School won their regional competition and goes on to compete and represent the Acholi tribe at the National Music Competition. The competition of five-thousand students is exhilarating, as their heart and courage play out through song, dance, instruments, and drama. They share the dream of every child—to do great things despite their past or present circumstances. Family, teachers, and music professionals rally around and encourage victories both big and small.

The film’s language is mostly in Acholi, which brings further endorsement of this brilliant feature. Furthermore, while the children retell shocking specifics (killing with machetes, human heads in cooking pots, and child soldiers killing) in a sobering tone, the filmmakers revisit a deserted village and school, and a lone cross-marked burial site. Throughout, there are also statistics regarding this painful reality and forgotten war.

This documentary is much more than a history lesson; it is a cry for help. “War Dance” brings to the forefront of our spiritual awareness the incomprehensible—the blessings of life should have no boundaries or borders. God’s children should never be subjected to the demands of suffering as told in this production. Most movies impart a message, and some are more subtle than others are. The meaning here is clear and concise, to include bringing us to our knees to pray for all of God’s children.

“Against the persecution of a tyrant the godly have no remedy but prayer.” —John Calvin

Practice prayer in your daily life, and make your life a prayer because the world needs God’s influence.

Ephesians 6:18—“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

As Christians, we should be bombarding heaven with gratefulness for our own safety and that of our family, and with thankfulness for everyday necessities.

Winner for best directing of a documentary at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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