Dancing in the Dark

It's rare to see a film that so eloquently captures the worst and best of humanity, but War/Dance does it beautifully. Set in war-torn northern Uganda, the documentary follows the Patongo school, in the middle of a massive refugee camp, as its children prepare for a national music competition. We see Nancy collapse, weeping, at her father's grave; Rose recalling seeing her mother's severed head; and Dominic shamefully describing the innocent farmers he beat to death when he was abducted and forced to become a child soldier. Amid these agonizing scenes are images of the children smiling and laughing as they sing and dance. They anticipate the music festival as their chance to bring pride back to their tribe and to prove to the rest of their country that they are more than just orphans of war.

By the end, you're holding your breath, wanting the Patongo kids to prove themselves as badly as they do. Come cheer them on at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli Student Union, where the film opened Friday, January 25, and shows at noon, 4:45, 7:05 and 9:20 p.m. through Thursday, January 31; profits from the movie go back to the communities where Nancy, Rose and Dominic live. For information, go to www.wardance.org or www.denverfilm.org or call 303-595-3456.
Jan. 25-31, 2008