God Grew Tired of Us (2006) Poster

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Lost and Found
Joseph Belanger22 July 2007
How often do critics and audiences agree on something? I think we can all admit it's somewhat rare. So when I heard that documentary, GOD GREW TIRED OF US, had managed to win both the Audience Prize and the Grand Jury Prize at last year's Sundance festival, I was certainly intrigued. However, when I finally caught the trailer, skepticism settled in. The film appeared to be some sort of social experiment where young, African men were transplanted into America with an array of comedic mishaps to follow. What could be funnier than watching the unexposed baffled over how to use an escalator? Still, I was not deterred. I would see with my own eyes what movie had managed to appease the masses and the minutiae-oriented. Proving once again that you cannot judge a movie by its proverbial cover, GOD GREW TIRED OF US is a unique and rare experience that burrows its way into your mind and soul, forcing you to see your world and the world outside your world through the eyes of a wide-eyed stranger.

In 1983, the second Sudanese Civil war began. Over 27,000 young boys and girls (many more boys than girls as girls were often snatched up by attackers to be raped and/or turned into slaves first) fled their villages and journeyed to refugee relief camps in bordering countries, Ethiopia and Kenya. The treks lasted a few years and only 12,000 managed to reach their destinations. These camps became their new homes, in some cases for fifteen years. In 2001, an aid program was put in place to bring 3800 young men over to the United States. The program was called The Lost Boys of Sudan. It was at this point that filmmakers Christopher Dillon Quinn and Tommy Walker made their way to the refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. They would follow three lost boys as they traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to begin their new life. Using archival footage to demonstrate the horrendous experience endured by these young men in their boyhood, Quinn ensures that his audience understands where these men came from and what family and community means to them before he shows their worlds being turned upside down.

Though the Lost Boys' coming face to face with electricity and the subtle differences between turning a light on at the source or by using the wall switch can be comedic, their introduction to Western society is more telling of the natives than anything else. Coming from a past that at one point included eating mud as a source of water while in the desert, must make the concept of testing the water coming from your shower head until it is just right before stepping underneath it seem downright extravagant. Excessive is a Western way of life for those who can afford it. Even those who can't live above their means to appear that they can. When the Lost Boys walk down the aisles of a large chain grocery store, awe beams from their eyes. The point is only further proved when they are offered a taste of a sugar doughnut smothered in sprinkles. They each take tiny bites as if unsure of what form of ridiculousness they're biting into. Everyone around them walks up and down the grocery store aisles as if they do it every day and think nothing of it. I would be doing the same and GOD GREW TIRED OF US, without being accusatory or judgmental, draws your attention to how much you take for granted on a daily basis. It'll get you thinking about your supposed needs the next time you bite into a doughnut of your own.

What gives GOD GREW TIRED OF US its deeper, more substantial meaning is the decision to not just e xpose the culture shock the Lost Boys endure as if they were guinea pigs put on screen for our privileged perspectives to devour. The film goes further when it follows the Lost Boys as they cement their lives in the United States over a period of three years. The illusion wears off when you have to work three jobs to afford your basic needs while sending money to your family back in Africa that you haven't seen in over fifteen years. America the beautiful quickly becomes a very lonely place that feels very far from home. Despite having opportunity and an abundance of everything, the Lost Boys still miss the Sudan. GOD GREW TIRED OF US is respectful of both its subjects and its audience, always sure never to demean one for the sake of the other. Maybe this is why it has captured the attention of critics and audiences alike; its humbling, thought-provoking nature levels the distance between the two, where each group feels better than the other, allowing each to see that they are no different from each other when faced with the bigger picture of humanity and its arduous journey towards global compassion.
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inspiring, funny, charming, educational, depressing...
hsfilmteacher29 January 2006
Just saw this at Sundance. Truly, an excellent, humane look at immigrant/refugee assimilation in the United States. The parts where the boys discover electricity, cars, and supermarkets are funny as hell. The parts where the boys question whether people are better off in the U.S. or Africa are poignant and revealing of our luxuries and ignorance.

The film briefly covers the history of the mid-80s civil war in Sudan, and the subsequent exodus of young Sudanese men and boys into a refuge camp in Kenya. It focuses on the first four years of the lucky few "lost boys" who are offered refuge in the U.S.

By far, my favorite part, is the film's effective portrayal of these young men as articulate, intelligent beings. It's too easy for us to create a stereotypical picture of Africa in our minds. This film blows all of my previous conceptions away.

Immediately after seeing this at Sundance, someone wrote a $25,000 check to help one of the main character's projects. If I had the money, I would have done the same.
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Welcome to America?
idonotexist14 August 2007
This is a documentary that is of a rare type, yet one that i wish there was more of. It is rare because it is real. There isn't a script, no plot. The camera follows the characters and not the other way around.

This movie is about a group of Sudanese refugees granted asylum into the USA after wandering around Africa for years having been displaced by the wars in the 1990s that affected Sudan.

I am sure some will say that we have all seen this before.. people in dire situations, starving people, famine.. Yes we have, but what we haven't seen enough about is how these people, the few given a chance at a normal life deal with the adjustment and their new home.

This is a movie about Sudanese refugees yet it unmistakably makes you wonder about yourself and your own country. Through their eyes we are given a different perspective about us, perhaps a perspective that we so cannot see from our own point of view. The movie highlights the undeniable workaholic and isolationist American culture that is remotely not as welcoming as we would all like to claim. As the movie progresses we see their lives change, them trying to fit in, struggling with social norms (put your thinking caps on for this part of the movie) and generally trying to make it in the big capitalist state that we are. It isn't easy, but is it worth it? What these people have to give up makes you think of what we have given up and not even realize it or deem it important, yet for someone who comes from a different culture, the fragmented society is not a culture shock, it's lack of culture.

It doesn't matter if one agrees with their views on our weird lifestyle. What matters is that this is a beautiful documentary about struggle, both in the old life and the new. It is amazing to me, yet not foreign, how they are eventually forced to drop out of school and work menial jobs to make ends meet and try to help any people back home they can. Then comes the realization that a man can only do so much..

As time goes we see them make changes (generally improve) to their lives, get involved with activities, mend with the local culture. As we see the changes taking place it is hard not to understand the people and that is one of the high points of this movie. The information isn't forced to you but you warm up to is by listening what the boys have to say about their experiences and their lives.

A highly recommended real life documentary that is worth checking out, particularly if you like something different. There are also a few lines (can't miss them) that will make you chuckle because they are the same things that every American says often.
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"Toto, we're not in Sudan anymore!"
futures-17 May 2007
"The Lost Boys of Sudan": Documentary. Imagine you're a four year old boy. Countrymen, who look just like your very own Father, come into your town, and kill all the men and older boys, rape and kill all the women and girls, including your Mother and Sisters. You were in the fields, tending the goats, and saw it all. Now you – a four year old boy – are being hunted by these countrymen. You gather with other little boys, and set out barefoot, running and walking the wild countryside – hiding during the day, hiking only under the cover of night – when the lions come out – who stalk and kill many of your group. Imagine you somehow survive, and find yourself living in refugee camps run by Americans. You are there the next ten years. This is your home. The other boys, now men, are your Family. One day, YOU are offered a free trip to America – to better your life, make money, and send some of it home to help your surviving family and friends. Take the offer! You grew up in a mud hut on the Sudanese Plain, and suddenly you are welcomed/dropped into America. "Toto, we're not in Sudan anymore." This is a frightening, funny, interesting, frustrating, VERY sad look at Life with Nothing but Struggle. Their daily observations and realizations about this culture make you wince. Often.
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This Movie is like an alarm clock to your heart, Mind, and for your eyes to see.........
Jakoma Machok14 January 2007
There is only one perfect Jesus Christ, and he does not hold office or lead a country. Every other human being (or president) and every system devised by man is flawed. The ceaseless journey of my life began before I even existed. I am also a LOST BOY OF SUDAN AND Sometimes I wonder whether the love of one's family is real or imaginary, or a lesson of reason, or an instinct of nature? I still look back with pleasure on the first episodes of my life together with my family, though that pleasure has been for the most part intermingled with sorrow. Sadly I wasn't lucky enough to grow up in my country to design my future life together with my parents, siblings, relatives and friends. In 1987, at age of five, the war separated me from my family. I was miserably unhappy. But now that I am mature enough to comprehend the upward and downward of the this confusing world, it has become obvious to me that happiness and unhappiness must cancel out each other. And if I were unhappy now, I would necessarily be happy later on.

I Encourage you to go see it and you will be amaze how much you will learn about our lives!!! Good luck!
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Lost Boys, but not lost spirits
csamgo413 January 2007
Recently saw a screening of the film. Afterward had the pleasure of meeting and listening to John Dau speak. This film should be shown on TV as well, to enlighten, educate the UNITED STATES, because we can be very ignorant about our knowledge of the outside world.

These young boys and men, proved to be so endearing, very bright, hard working people. When one of them commented about someone asking about them living in the forest...he was lovely with his response. For him it was just common sense "No you can not live in the forest, it's impossible" It made me think of what Oprah is currently doing with her school for girls. These young people want the education for the em-betterment of their families and countries. These Lost Boys came here and even though they're putting Ritz Crackers in a coffeemaker w/milk, somehow managed to receive their education (Masters, B.A.).

We as a nation, need to really take a serious look at ourselves...and perhaps this film.

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a must-see documentary
Roland E. Zwick30 December 2007
If nothing else, watching "God Grew Tired of Us" will make Westerners realize just how much they take for granted in their daily lives. For this is a wonderful and deeply moving documentary about three young men from Africa and their first, awe-inspiring encounter with the modern world.

John, Daniel and Panther are refugees who fled Sudan when war and genocide ravaged that once-beautiful country in the 1980's. They were part of a group of young boys who made an arduous and, for many, deadly trek from Southern Sudan to a refugee camp in Northern Kenya (those who survived the journey became known as "The Lost Boys of Sudan"). After living many years in substandard conditions at that site, 3,600 of the young men were given the opportunity to leave Kenya and start a new life in the United States. John, Daniel and Panther were three of those individuals.

As written and directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn (and narrated by Nicole Kidman), "God Grew Tired of Us" begins in despair, relating a heartbreaking tale of harrowing mass murder and deadly privation, and ends in hope, showing how one changed life can positively affect the lives of so many others the world over. For even though it vividly points out the bold line separating the haves from the have-nots in this world, the film also provides a great deal of optimism and humor, as the three young men explore the technological marvels of the strange new land in which they find themselves living: food that comes prepackaged from a freezer, staircases that move up and down seemingly of their own accord, hot and cold water that comes flowing out of a tap, light that appears at the command of a switch. One of the boys even admits to never having "seen" electricity before moving to America, and he worries over whether he will ever be able to master its use. But all is not roses and soft mattresses for the three men when they arrive in the U.S., for they must also work hard, establish themselves as members of their communities, and adjust to some of the "peculiarities" of American culture, such as a marked tendency towards suspicion and a lack of friendliness on the part of some of the people they meet. And, as with virtually all people who move to an alien yet economically advantaged society, they must cope not only with the loss of deeply-ingrained cultural traditions but a feeling of guilt for those they've left behind.

Yet, thanks to John, Daniel and Panther, "God Grew Tired of Us" becomes much more than a mere curiosity, a mere fish-out-of-water tale for the amusement of the Western elite. Through lengthy interviews, the three men provide a rich and thoughtful commentary on their lives, their experiences, their values, their goals and their aspirations. And though they struggle mightily with the psychic scars left by the traumas of their past, through their own inner strength and commitment - and never a hint of self-pity - they not only persevere to go on and make something of their own lives, but they are able to turn their personal tragedy into a force for Good, inspiring others in their neighborhoods to join them in raising America's consciousness about the atrocities still occurring in that corner of the globe. And when, after three years in America, two of them are already making plans to go back to their homeland in the hope of bringing positive change to the region, we come to understand just how powerful a force commitment and caring can be in this world.

After immersing yourself in "God Grew Tired of Us," you may never look at your own life - or the place you occupy in the world - in quite the same way again.

By all means, don't miss this one.
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A paean to the human spirit
Howard Schumann4 June 2007
Like college students after exam grades have been posted, boys in the U.N. refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, gather around a wooden board to look for their names on a stapled piece of paper. Finding them means a chance for a new life. Not finding their name means more waiting and hoping. Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker's documentary God Grew Tired of Us chronicles the odyssey of members of the Dinka tribe of Sudan who emigrate to America after years of hardship in a refugee camp in Kenya, some of the survivors of the people that have come to be known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. They are part of what remains of 27,000 Sudanese boys who escaped from their civil-war ravaged country in 1983 and walked more than one thousand miles over a period of five years, first to Ethiopia and then to Kenya in search of relief from government oppression and civil war.

The subject matter may sound depressing, but in the hands of Quinn and his team who spent more than four years in the project, the result leaves us feeling good about humanity. Though there is little historical background about the civil war or its causes and only a few words about how the Muslims in the north attacked the Christians in the south and threatened to kill or maim all underage boys, the film is not about the past but about the future. Produced by Brad Pitt and narrated by Nicole Kidman, God Grew Tired of Us centers around three boys who were given the opportunity to come to the U.S. after years of struggle for survival.

The boys are John Bul Dau, Panther Bior, and Daniel Abul Pach, all handsome, articulate, and highly motivated. Panther and Daniel end up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and John goes to Syracuse, New York, two of twenty-three states who accept the Sudanese Lost Boys. We get a real sense of what they are up against the minute we see them boarding a plane for the first time. No one bothers to tell them that butter is a spread and not to be eaten whole. When shown their new apartments in their new environment, they are amazed that they each can sleep in a single bed with a mattress and are wide-eyed when shown how to use electricity, garbage, and toilet facilities.

The first trip to the supermarket is another perplexing occasion. When shown a donut covered with sprinkles, one justifiably asks whether or not this is food. They are told that in the West, they don't have to cook potatoes but can eat them out of a paper bag labeled as chips but they are not told that it contains little but empty calories without a hint of nutrition. The film flies by in less than an hour and a half and we only scratch the surface of the problems that arise during their first year in their new country but their growing sense of loneliness and cultural isolation and their economic exploitation is not glossed over and we often wonder if perhaps coming to America was not the best idea.

John has to get up at 4AM to be driven to a factory job one hour away and to wait for two hours in the cold before the factory even opens. Others work two or three jobs, lamenting the fact that they never can see their friends. They wonder aloud how a society can function when everyone lives in fear of their neighbor, but no answers are forthcoming. What is astonishing is their mental toughness in pursuit of their goals and the film shows their efforts to attend schools, build a support community for other Lost Boys in the States, and make enough money to visit or provide help for their families and friends in Africa.

God Grew Tired of Us is a paean to the human spirit that avoids sentimentality and brings us closer to what is truly important in life: closeness to family, knowing who we are, remembering where we came from, and a desire to help others. We feel good about these boys and the opportunities they have received but wonder about the lives of those left behind - other refugees and lost boys and girls around the world whose stories would probably not be as commercially viable. "Everything has an end", says John Bul Dau in celebrating his new surroundings, yet for millions of others the end is not in sight.
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Please go see this film today!
bella-7716 January 2007
The future of the film depends on the initial attendance. I went on Saturday to the LA showing. This movie should be shown in every school. I took a 13 year old and she loved it. There are a few scenes that were hard to look at with starving African children...most of the staging was to give you a glimpse of what these boys went through. We can't comprehend and they didn't try to make the focus negative. This is an inspiring film about human dignity, human nature and people that know they are here for a reason. The lazy American High School student needs to wake up to this kind film and dream about making more of them. The film is beautifully and simply narrated by Nicole Kidman.
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Sundance winner touches your heart
lastliberal27 September 2008
Lost your job? House in foreclosure? Wife/husband left? None of these things can come close to what happened to thousands of young boys in Sudan after the Muslim North started to eliminate the Christian South.

Darfur is not an imaginary place. It is where millions have been killed and raped and driven from their homes in the interests of oil and minerals.

Children see their parents killed before them and their whole families wiped out. They are really too young to understand what is happening, but it will come back to haunt them later.

Thousands of young boys from 5-13 marched a thousand miles, mostly without food and water to escape. The 13-year-olds had to lead and bury the dead. Imagine burying your friends at 13.

12,000 finally settled in a camp where they were basically just awaiting death. After 10 years, some of the boys got a chance to go the the U.S. This is their story. Imagine Africans transported to New York and Pennsylvania and other places without the basic knowledge of how to turn a light on and off, or how to use a shower. Imagine their astonishment on their first trip to a supermarket.

We follow three of these men as they settle in, get jobs to help their families and friends back in Africa and to repay the U.S. for their care until they got work visas. It is touching, funny at times, and a sad reminder that this war is still going on and nothing is being done.

Anytime you feel sad about your life, just pop this in the DVD player.
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Another in a growing series of the horrible conditions faced by the people of Sudan.
ltlacey29 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Since 2003, there have been a few movies out telling and showing the world, as much as they can that is, just what is going on in Sudan. Kind of like all those movies about Rwanda. I am not saying that this is a bad thing since the world needs to know what is really going on around the world, but I would like to see more depth in each of these movies (fictional, based on an event; and non-fictional). In this movie we meet 4 more young men who somehow managed to make it from war-torn Sudan where they barely escaped as children. Sudan had a law that every man, even babies, be killed, and if not killed, then tortured and damaged so that they could not have children. Women were raped and killed as well, though this movie does not tell their stories. I would have liked to know how these young men were chosen to be relocated to the U.S., and if there was at some time some sort of relocation program to get them more emotionally ready for this experience. Maybe there was some lottery, or it was based on age, and maybe there were volunteers at the refugee camp who helped these young men learn more about where they were going. I am sure, since this was a National Geographic-backed project, that the bucks were there to do all of this, but I would have liked to learn more about the process. We get to travel with these young men and experience with them their first sights of a world they had only heard about, and most of what they heard was not totally true. The looks of awe, and fear, on their faces was great to experience, as I could feel their excitement and fear as well. And when the young man was reading the letter from his family and about all those that were killed, well, that did it for me. In our heads we know that these things happen all over the world, even in our own backyards, but seeing someone's face makes it more personal. And though we got an update about the 4, I would have liked to see NG do a follow-up on every young man that has been sent here. How many are still here and making it? How many have gone back to the refugee camp? How many have ended up in a mental ward? NG used to be more gutsy with this sort of information, but it seems over the years they have softened up a little too much. I say let it all out. Watch this film, as well as the others about The Lost Boys of Sudan, as well as any other movie that tells some history about just what is going on in Africa, as well as everywhere else in the world.
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Amazing film, don't miss it
squeaky14239 November 2015
Enlightening, heartbreaking, inspiring: don't miss this film. As an American it opened my eyes to our selfishness, our material world, and how it clashes with other cultures. It made me question why some people are born into privilege, while others suffer unimaginable atrocities in their lives. It made me appreciate how damn lucky I am. The tale of survival of these boys is a direct view into a harsh reality that continues today - one that most Americans are oblivious of, one that deserves attention and action. I absolutely fell in love with these Sudanese boys. Their love, their humor, their culture - it was all fascinating. If only people in our country would show the solidarity that these brothers have for each other - what a wonderful world it would be. I'm showing this film to my high school class of students who are learning English as a Second Language (among them I have some Africans, but not from the Sudan). It is going to provide a lot of food for thought!
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nice doc
SnoopyStyle15 September 2015
Sudan's Muslim majority in the north brutally attacks the Christian and animist south for its oil. Many were massacred, enslaved and driven from their homes. A group of survivors walked to Ethiopia. In 1991, they were once again forced to flee this time to Kenya. There some in the camp get relocated to America as refugees. The culture shock and the isolation does take a toll on some of the lost boys.

This seems to be a simple story to tell. It starts by recounting the lost boys' devastating journey. The culture shock of them trying to understand their new surrounding is funny and endearing. The surprise comes when the boys struggle in the new world. It is the twists from living in the west that is the most fascinating. It's not all happy endings but it is not all sadness either. Life continues on.
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billcr1221 June 2014
God grew tired of us is a line used by one of the lost boys of the Sudan, as he describes the horrible conditions of his homeland. Thousands of refugees traveled by foot over one thousand miles to escape the killing by tribes from the north. It begins at a camp where the boys are surviving, while a lucky few are chosen to fly to America for new lives. The young men are shown in Syracuse, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and culture shock is an understatement as the Africans are introduced to electric lights and refrigerators and modern plumbing. The men do adapt, and even as they struggle to survive, working two and three jobs while attending college, they are a triumph of the human spirit. This is a magnificent film with people who make you stand up and cheer. A solid 9/10.
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Motivator for kids
lifewaterranch15 March 2014
I think this is a wonderful film especially to show to kids. They will see how blessed they are in America and appreciate the value of an education. It also shows the power of faith and how a life can survive almost anything with it. I would say more but I don't want to spoil it. This review continues on due to the lame requirement by IMDb to have a minimum number of lines. This is ridiculous as it forces just random statements. The movie gives a viewpoint from that of the lost boys and really gives you a feeling for the differences in cultures from an African perspective. Very moving and convicting. What did I do with my life while these boys were struggling to live?
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haleymichelson18 October 2013
This is a heart-wrenching, beautifully filmed documentary about the true story of "the lost boys" of Sudan. I saw it first at Sundance film festival in 2006 and have never forgotten the images.

One of the most powerful films I've ever seen - the viewer will never again complain about "problems" in their life after witnessing the bravery and shining life condition of these incredible young men.

I wish this had gotten wide release as it deserved, but alas it is available on DVD which is a blessing. The cinematography is gorgeous, especially in the African shots, and the raw emotion will live with you forever.
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The Crosswalk Between Two Vastly Different Earths
Sean Lamberger10 April 2012
An emotionally-charged, unflinching look at the vast cultural gap between suburban America and war-ravaged central Africa. When a select few members of an impoverished clan of Sudanese expats are voluntarily selected for transplant to the United States, it seems like an act of charity. But after three months, these tall, eager, warm-hearted refugees - many of whom were fascinated by the electric lights above their seats on the flight over - are expected to come to terms with this brave new world, acclimate to the new social and temperate climates, find work and begin paying down the air fare Uncle Sam extended to them. Their passion to do so, and the extent of their successes over the ensuing years, is a source of deep inspiration. It's not without a political agenda, as is the case with most documentaries in this vein, but even after casting that aside there's a rich, poignant message waiting here.
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Opinion with child.
jeannebakker1 October 2011
Watched this once and was touched then watched it with my 10 year old daughter,heavy maybe but that is why I wanted to watch it with her. Having a dialogue with her I learned so much more than when I watched by myself. Having to answer questions like "why would this happen" and "why can't it be fixed" made this a richer experience, though I struggled for answers. I saw how unaware I am and wanted to change that. Children can sure put a mirror on you. As she watched the struggles 'The Lost Boys' I saw her tear up, laugh and my favorite- understand.

One event where the Ritz crackers and milk go in the blender, I thought was strange and then realized why it would happen,but it took me aback for a moment. Child-matter of fact- "they must be doing that so it is more like things they have eaten before" She loved when they had the celebration outside of the apartment and course when John was reunited with his mother. She hated the way that much of the community treated the newcomers(scared when in a group for example,though wouldn't you want to be around those you know) and felt uncomfortable with the first scenes in the grocery store.

I wish we could all take a lesson from children and those featured in the film and be curious,empathetic, and appreciative , because I think we forget sometimes.
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Just Watch It and You'll Understand!
Syl11 July 2011
Christopher Quinn has compiled a wonderful documentary about three Lost Boys of the Sudanese Genocide who immigrate to America to find new lives. He cites the history and how they became the lost boys through the systematic genocide in Sudan and how they migrated to refugee camps first in Ethiopia and second in Kenya. While they are there for years, they form unforgettable bonds with each other and rely on each other as family. When they immigrate to the United States settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Syracuse, New York, they must make adjustments and adaptation unlike anything before. They appreciate their new lives and the advantages offered to them without complaint about doing any job no matter what it is but they are not without racking guilt for those thousands left behind and for their families whose fate may not be known. Despite it all, you don't see any tears about their situation but just the guilt that they are lucky and they plan to give back to those back home.
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Why Do You Work So Hard?
Jim Kobayashi30 April 2011
The film is about the lives of Lost Boys after they came to U.S.A.. The most of them struggled with the life style in the unfamiliar country, but they eventually got through a tough time and tried to find the way of helping their home country, Sudan. The movie is not only touching but funny, their reaction for the life in the developed country was absolutely worth to watch. and I learned a lot of things from their way of thinking.

I assumed the film maker wanted to telll us the difficulities of the Lost Boys after they left their own country and how the situation of Sudan is bad. However the movie got me thinking the other topic, happiness. I vividly remember when one of the Lost Boys felt depressed for his life in U.S.A. and said "When I was in our country, I have a lot of time to talk to family, friends, and even stranger, and we were happy. But in here, U.S.A., everybody just work, work, work, and they don't have enough time of communication." What is the happiness is different among the people, but like he said, it is also true many people in developed country work too hard and forget why they work in the first place.
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Great true story, very well made.
TxMike15 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
We learn in the film's introductory scenes that war broke out in the Sudan in the 1980s pitting the northern parts against the southern Sudan. Many were killed, especially young boys, and families were fractured. One group became known as "The Lost Boys" of Sudan, and this movie is about them. They were young teenagers, or younger, in 1987 when they were separated from their families. Those who survived traveled 1000 miles in the desert mostly without food. Many others died of starvation.

Now young adults, in 2001 many were given the opportunity to travel to various parts of the USA. We find out much later that today they are in 23 different states. A pleasant, but never intrusive, narration is provided by Nicole Kidman.

Panther Bior, John Bul Dau, and Daniel Abol Pach are themselves. Their trip to the USA came with the condition that they get Social Security cards, and within 90 days have jobs and begin to pay their own way and, eventually, reimburse the US Government for their cost of air travel.

The film includes much of the humorous introduction the "lost boys" had to American culture. We see a sponsor showing them how to turn lights on and off (many had never used electricity), how the refrigerator kept food cold, how to use the toilet and toilet paper, and an admonition "don't throw trash out the window", and showed them how to use a trash can.

Through all this we learn several things about the Sudanese. They are kind, intelligent, learn new tasks quickly, have a good work ethic, and value 'family' highly.

The transition was difficult and they were homesick, but they took the opportunity to get education and, as they were able, send money back to their people left behind. Some have earned college degrees and, in some cases, returned to Africa to help improve things there.

At 1:20 into the film there is a very touching reunion. John Bul found his sister and mother alive, and has arranged for them to travel to the US. After 17 years John is no longer a boy, but a very tall man, and the family reunion in the airport terminal is great.

All in all a superb movie.
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Exploiting the purity of others to rekindle the lost spark inside ourselves
D A12 August 2007
Effective though tiring documentary captures some amazing moments traveling with three Sudanese gentlemen as they are transported to the United States in programs designated to uplift their living experience. The irony these filmmakers expose in their work by showing the contrasting happiness found by these impoverished men in more dire circumstances runs deep. The multiple, gently condescending cultural errors we witness and laugh at (though hopefully with) are done with a warm heart. Eventually though, this initially promising odyssey looses steam thematically and narratively, ending up taking the exciting and fun concept (practically a real life "Coming To America") and overextending into more generic, though equally uplifting terrain that has become kind of prevalent in our rich-white-Hollywood world colliding with the humanitarian efforts throughout Africa- results often feel compassionate, yet still feel slightly exploitive and pandering.
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A Journey Out of Africa
Hollywood_Yoda11 June 2008
In the 1950s, Britain abandons what was to be their last colonization, which left a split of Muslim and Christian faiths behind. A Muslim and Christian feud ignites, later causing a Civil War. The Sudanese Civil War began in the mid 80s, 1985 to be more precise. The Sudanese people were forced to leave the home they had loved for many generations. The living and some wounded bodies went north to Ethiopia during and after the Civil War.

The journey for these people was long and treacherous, many of them died along the thousand mile trek. The news media, following the story in the late 1980s, dubbed the men and boys, "The Lost Boys," for they were without a country or a home. The group of Sudanese refugees stayed in Ethiopia until the government crumbled in 1991. Again, the "Lost Boys" had to make a decision, where to go next.

This time, they would head back south through war ravaged country, when they finally ended up in Kenya. They were refugees according to many people, and the United Nations decided to step in and help the "Lost Boys." Beginning around the end of the twentieth century, many "Lost Boys" were being relocated to the states, New York, Pennsylvania, and some as far west as Arizona.

This is when the "Lost Boys" grew up, and they became men. Learning to be more Americanized and civilized was harder for some of them than for others. The transition from a homeland culture to an adopted culture is sometimes traumatic, as seen in some of these men, one in particular that could not handle the pressure, ended up in a psychiatric ward. Some would say that the tax money is squandered on the likes of people like this, but I say, "Even if we only help one of them succeed, we are doing our job." If ethics is the study of right and wrong, were we right or wrong to change these people's complete existence on Earth? Or should that be in the hands of God? Maybe it is in the hands of God, and he is working through good people to make his will better for everyone on Earth. If to look at some of these men today, they are more successful and free than they could have ever have been before because of what they went through.

Each of them personally struggled, leaving their families and life behind while they came to America to make things better for themselves. As many of them stated, they wanted to bring happiness and freedom to their families. They even sent money to their families back in Africa, but only some of what they sent made it. Did someone steal from these honest, hardworking men? They were unsuspecting and innocents.

"Life, liberty and the Pursuit of happiness" is guaranteed to all men and women residing in the United States. Why not to the rest of the world? As can be seen in this film, some of the people of Sudan wanted freedom. The entire world should want freedom, but maybe I am making an assumption. No one can truly want freedom until they have had a taste of what is like to be free.
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Steve Jean on soundtrack!!!
rselvis21 October 2007
I was delighted to hear that my boy Steve Jean is on the Soundtrack of this picture. They use his Bundu song, a remake of a traditional song. Question is, did the movie makers pay for the song? Hope they did otherwise Mr.Pitt might have a legal issue on his hands. Its nice to see local talent put to use, it would be even better to see it rewarded. We'll just sit and wait. Otherwise can't wait to catch the film. I was delighted to hear that my boy Steve Jean is on the Soundtrack of this picture. They use his Bundu song, a remake of a traditional song. Question is, did the movie makers pay for the song? Hope they did otherwise Mr.Pitt might have a legal issue on his hands. Its nice to see local talent put to use, it would be even better to see it rewarded. We'll just sit and wait. Otherwise can't wait to catch the film.
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