(No longer in theaters)
Nov 9, 2007
It doesn’t feel good to bash Redford—a true do-gooder in an age in which the term is a slur, the definition of uncool. We cut documentary filmmakers more slack, especially when atrocity footage wipes the smirks off our faces. Two new docs— War/Dance and Darfur Now—search for hope in two of the worst places on Earth. The first, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, centers on children in a remote refugee camp in northern Uganda. They have seen, in many cases, their parents hacked to death, their villages destroyed. They are still surrounded by carnage. In the course of the film, they rehearse for a national music-and-dance festival in the south, where they’ll compete against bigger and better schools—schools in which everyone isn’t an orphan. There are too many competition docs these days (Spellbound opened the floodgates) with built-in cliff-hangers and manufactured inspiration. But the suspense in War/Dance transcends the quest for the big prizes. For these kids to sing and dance with all their hearts, they need to go to a place in themselves that should be closed down forever. The glories of War/Dance are torturously won, and all the more glorious for it.