Monday, May 25, 2009

War Dance directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

War Dance is an inspirational story about Acholi students at a northern Uganda primary school in a displacement camp who go to Kampoli to compete in the national music and dance competition. These students are living in a war zone and have survived horrendous rebel attacks from the Lord’s Resistance Army. The three stories of Nancy, Dominic and Rose are the foundation for the larger story about their hard work to compete in Kampala and the success of their group in the traditional dance competition. In this story music and dance help the children to forget their pain and strive for success.

This film strived to avoid acknowledging the crew or letting the viewer glimpse the equipment. There was only one scene where I saw a boom mike accidentally revealed in the corner of the screen. Other than that I saw no evidence of directors or crew. It was very smooth filming which gave it a more professional feeling than the previous films I have watched especially with the exclusion of the interviewer. The interviews were on scene and I never heard any questions asked but rather the interviewee told his or her story or talked about the competition and life in the war zone. There was natural lighting for much of the filming but a few scenes may have had artificial lighting. The film makers used text to give the viewer additional information such as to explain the war situation in the beginning of the film and also to elaborate on each child that the film focused on. When music was used in this film it was mainly the tribal music that the children were working on but there were also other soundtracks that would be heard once in a while.

The setting for the film in northern Uganda raised questions for how the film makers achieved some of their shots. There were a few high shots looking down at the villagers that may have come from a videographer climbing a tree. When the children perform their traditional dance at the competition there is a shot from inside of their circle as they dance and I would love to know how they did it. During this scene the film makers slow down the dance and have voiceovers of the children speaking about how when they dance the camp is gone and so are their problems. This was a gorgeous way to interlay the resilience of the children to their past horrors and the healing powers of the dance and music. When each child recounts their past and how they were affected by the rebels, they are filmed with their backs to the camera in the tall grass or in a school room. I thought this was a good way to portray a difficult topic and was stronger than a typical interview or a reenactment which would have detracted from the monologue. It was impressive that the film makers were given the privilege and trust to hear the horrific stories from the children. I highly recommend this film.

No comments:

Post a Comment