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The Independent Critic

Sean and Andrea Fine
Patango Children of Uganda
Running Time
16 Mins.
 "War/Dance Returns" Review 
Having been completely enchanted by "War/Dance," the Oscar-nominated documentary that the husband and wife Fine's directed regarding the children of the Patango Tribe in Uganda and their efforts in the national music competition, I eagerly awaited "War Dance Returns," their documenting of their return to Uganda to show the film to the entire refugee camp for the very first time on a 25-foot inflatable screen under the stars.
   Unfortunately, what served as an awesome and inspiring story of overcoming violence in "War/Dance" has become largely a self-congratulatory exercise in cinematic excess in which the filmmakers applaud themselves for having created a film seen by so many and having accomplished so much.
   While there is no doubt that their return to Uganda is, indeed, emotional, this film never quite captures the magic of the first film despite documenting the current status of the three central characters in the first film- Rose, Dominic and Nancy, all of whom have clearly gained better lives and have had scholarships established in their names to ensure they will complete secondary school.
   When the Fines focus on these three children, "War Dance Returns" is a beautiful and moving film, however, far too often the two return the camera to themselves with their own perceptions of the experience that ring as a touch hollow considering the children with whom they spent so much time. Fans of the original film will likely appreciate the opportunity to revisit these children, as it was impossible to not watch the original documentary without wondering "Where are they now?" I just wish the Fines had spent more time allowing the children to speak and share their own experiences rather than subjecting us to their own interpretation of the looks on their faces.