Movie Review: War Dance
This is one of the best films I have seen in a very long time, and I am very happy to write my first movie review on it. War Dance is a beautiful and important documentary focusing on three children in Northern Uganda whose lives have been plagued by violence and warfare. Although these children have been through more suffering than most of us can ever imagine, they find solace through the healing powers of music and dance.
From the moment the movie begins, you are transported to another place - the music that starts the film is beautiful, yet hauntingly sad - much like most of the film. This documentary is set against the backdrop of a primary school in a N. Uganda refugee camp which is training to compete in a national music festival. Three of the school children in particular are focused on: Nancy, Dominic, and Rose. All three of them tell their stories and how the war with the rebels, aka the Lord’s Resistance Army, has devastated their lives. But their souls cannot be broken. Through their tribal music and dance, they are free. As Rose says, “Music is the most important part of Acholi culture. Not even war can take it away.”
The children really carry this movie - they make you cry, make you laugh, make you love, and make you hate. You see the children carry an unbearable load of suffering and sadness - yet as soon as one of them smiles, you feel the entire screen light up. This movie is very powerful and heavy. Many themes come to mind when thinking of this movie: power, sacrifice, hope, fear, music, and the resilience and beauty of the human spirit. There are many heart-breaking scenes, but one that stuck with me was as Nancy and the other students were getting ready to go to the city to perform she says, “I cannot wait to see what peace is like.”
Without giving too much away, the film is about hope and the ability of these children to continue to be positive in the face of absolute destruction. A very well-done film that opens one’s eyes and one’s heart to the potential of the human spirit. It is an absolute must see. You will be better for it.
Rating: 5 very emphatic Stars.