War Dance is a documentary with a unique perspective on the tragedies that are going on in Uganda, during its seemingly never ending war. The story follows a group of young kids who have dealt with more sorrow in the pubescent life than anyone should endure. These kids tell the story of how their lives were destroyed by the war in meticulous detail, but that’s not the real story of the film. The real purpose of this documentary was to explore how a national dancing event has inspired the children, how it engulfed their little lives and somehow gave it meaning.
Certainly their sorrows were shared, as each of the kids experienced tragedies in their lives at the hands of the rebels. Nancy for instance had to deal with her fathered being murdered by rebels with a machete, thus making her the head of her household. Others had similar stories to tell, one lost their brother and one was forced to perform evil acts to preserve his own life. All these scenes were detailed to the last bloody detail as we learned of them picking out their parents corpses from basins and murdering farmers with their own hoe.
But these stories were never the focus of the movie as the war was just a side note in the film. Which in a way serves to tell us life goes on and that these kids have more to show than just their gruesome paths, they can in fact become something. Now that was the point of the movie, to show that these kids have talent and can achieve greatness with work. They shouldn’t just be looked at as poor kids but as people who can bring something to the table. This message was echoed several times throughout the film but perhaps it was said loudest at the end, when they brought a trophy back to celebrate their accomplishment.
One remarked “now I am not only the girl with the dead parents but the girl that brought back a trophy. ” These kids danced away their sorrow not just to make themselves feel better but to make the entire community feel better. They wanted everyone to know that a town in Northern Uganda could do some good that it can contribute in a meaningful way. They accomplished this in the end by their solid dances and their exceptional skilled Xenophon player who was in fact regarded as the best player. While these kids got individual trophies they felt like it belonged to the community and showed the goodness of it.
This was a very meaningful message and a well done film that showed through the eyes of little kids the purity of a community. Dance not only let them escape their surroundings but to build a new attitude about themselves that gave them self worth. This is a very important message and in fact shows how nothing can stop the human spirit. These kids though young have thought us a valuable lesson about moving on from our past towards a solid goal that lift ourselves from our pasts and that’s the point of this documentary.