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God Grew Tired of Us
Jan 26, 2006
PARK CITY -- More than four years in the making, "God Grew Tired of Us" is a labor of love not only for director Christopher Quinn but also for the three Lost Boys of Sudan who are the subject of the film. An incredibly powerful story of renewal, commitment and the resiliency of the human spirit, this is a movie that should attract a large theatrical audience, and no one will go home disappointed.
In 1983, about 25,000 boys from southern Sudan, most of them 5 to 10 years old, fled the advancing Muslim army from the north that was seeking to exterminate the male population of black Christians. The Lost Boys, as they came to be known, trekked barefoot for more than 1,000 miles and eventually settled in a U.N. refuge camp in Kakuma, Kenya, which is where Quinn started filming.
Rather than becoming bitter and hostile, the boys formed a close-knit society in which they all took care of one another, boys as young as 11 taking on the responsibility of surrogate fathers. What is remarkable to see in Quinn's footage is that these children did not let their sadness and suffering -- many buried their families -- wipe out their good will and kind nature.
While at the camp, Quinn chose three boys to follow as they left their community to resettle in the U.S. Before they leave, their cultural fears are amusing but not in a condescending way. These people have great dignity even as they worry about the difficulty of using electricity and whether they will have to bring water from the river to bathe.
In selecting John Bul Dau, Panther Bior and Daniel Abul Pach, Quinn has picked excellent stars for his film. They are intelligent, engaging and a pleasure to spend 90 minutes with. Although their arrival in America has many humorous moments, this is not another fish-out-of-water story. These are not people simply trying to adapt to a foreign culture; they bring with them spiritual values that are intrinsically the opposite of American life. They really do love their neighbors, and Daniel marvels at how you can't just go into a stranger's house for help if you need something.
Panther and Daniel are situated in Pittsburgh, while John moves to Syracuse, N.Y. They are lonely at first, but what they have in common from their Dinka tradition and what keeps them going is their commitment to help their family and friends who still don't have a home or a homeland. John works three jobs to send money to his family in a Uganda refugee camp.
After the initial phase of shooting, Quinn returned to Syracuse and Pittsburgh every other month to record their progress through the modern world, their jobs and return to school. One of the most moving of many moving scenes in the film occurs when John brings his mother to the U.S. after not knowing for many years if she was even alive. She is so overcome with joy at their reunion that she can barely stand up and walks through the airport calling out Dinka chants of delight.
Quinn always seems to have his camera in the right place at the right time, thanks in no small part to cinematographer Paul Daley's vibrant colors and Geoffrey Richman's crisp editing. The film also features a tuneful soundtrack of African music that carries the uplifting message of these wonderful, wounded Lost Boys who never lost their faith.
GOD GREW TIRED OF US
Director: Christopher Quinn
Producers: Molly Bradford Pace, Quinn
Executive producers: Brad Pitt, Adam Schlesinger, Jack Schneider
Director of photography: Paul Daley
Music: Mark McAdam, Mark Nelson, Jamie Staff
Editor: Geoffrey Richman.
John Bul Dau, Panther Bior, Daniel Abul Pach
No MPAA rating
Running time -- 90 minutes