Movie Comment: War Dance (2007)  

Posted by Denis Haack in , , , , ,

In northern Uganda a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army has waged war against the Ugandan army from bases across the border in the Sudan. The LRA’s chief, Joseph Kony, claims his goal is to overthrow the Ugandan regime in order to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments. The rebels’ methods are brutal, and they have gained infamy by sweeping through the countryside kidnapping thousands of children, raping and slaughtering the adults. The children are made to commit atrocities, the boys forced to become soldiers, the girls made into sex slaves. In 1998 alone, more than 6,000 children were abducted by the LRA. More than half a million people have been displaced by the violence, many now living in sprawling camps guarded by government troops. The LRA regularly targets NGOs and humanitarian convoys for attack, increasing the terror felt by civilians.


Each year Uganda holds a national music and traditional dance competition. War Dance follows the students from a primary school in one of the large refugee camps in the north, Patongo, as they train and travel under armed escort to take part in the competition in the capital city, Kampala.


Along the way a few of them, Dominic, Rose, and Nancy, tell us their stories. Of how they were abducted, brutalized, and then somehow escaped the clutches of the LRA to make their way to Patongo. “It’s difficult for people to believe our story,” one says, “but if we don’t tell you, you won’t know.”


In the music and dance—lovingly rendered on the screen—they find beauty and we are reminded that art is not a luxury but an essential part of life for those created in the image of God. War Dance is a simple film, a documentary that tells a story that must be heard and seen, and not forgotten.


This entry was posted at Tuesday, March 03, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



I looked it up on Netflix and it is available in the watch instantly section. I'm going to go watch it right now!! So, if you have a membership...

March 3, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I invite you to see my new book on Josephy Kony and the LRA, titled First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, available now at Se more at and follow the issue at

March 4, 2009 at 12:05 PM

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