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Films have varying success on fifth afternoon of Thin Line

Films have varying success on fifth afternoon of Thin Line

The audience watches Dare to Drum at Thinline in Denton, Texas. Parts of the film feature the origin of drumming, displaying black and white photographs. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Films have varying success on fifth afternoon of Thin Line
February 23
12:20 2016

Erica Wieting | Features Editor

@ericawieting

Two films showed at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Campus Theatre on the final day of Thin Line Film Fest. The first, though far shorter in length, was exponentially more entertaining than the lengthy second feature, which didn’t pick up until the end of the film.

Retno’s Refusal 

Directors Jennifer Batchelder and Susan Carol Davis filmed “Retno’s Refusal” on-location in both Jakarta, Indonesia and Denton. It focuses on the common deed of “trash-picking” many Indonesian citizens resort to because of joblessness, homelessness and starvation.

Trash pickers make approximately $5 per day, according to the film—hardly enough for a latte at Starbucks.

The film briefly tells the story of Retno Hapsari, founder of the nonprofit XSProject, which buys things from trash pickers and works to clean the landfills. Hapsari is specifically working to improve conditions in one of Jakarta’s open garbage dumps, Cirendeu.

A camera projects the movie from behind the screen at Thin Line in Denton, Texas. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

A camera projects the movie from behind the screen at Thin Line in Denton, Texas. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

On-screen she described the vast difference between Denton’s and Indonesia’s landfills with a shocking comparison.

“The landfill in Denton is heaven,” she said. “The landfills in Indonesia are hell.”

Indonesian garbage dumps fill dusty urban and city streets with trash. Children and adults bend over piles of refuse and debris in efforts to find sellable treasures. Shots such as these highlighted the reality of the country’s situation, giving visual proof of Hapsari’s statement.

But an unexpectedly quick end to the memorable film would abruptly transition into the second and final feature of the afternoon screening.

Dare to Drum

“Dare to Drum” follows a percussionist quintet’s three-year journey to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

The group travels to Indonesia for specialty, handmade instruments, attains the tutelage of Dallas Symphony Orchestra conductor Jaap van Zweden and recruits the talent of The Police drummer and founder Stewart Copeland in preparation for their performance. Known as D’Drum, the group also contributed Indonesian sounds to the soundtrack for previous film, “Retno’s Refusal.”

“Dare to Drum” was mundane in many spots, lulling during particularly extended interview shots or lengthy rehearsal scenes, but the featured group’s talent was unmistakable.

Dare to Drum played for audiences at Thinline on Sunday in Denton, Texas. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Dare to Drum played for audiences at Thinline on Sunday in Denton, Texas. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

The film started off slowly, taking a while to get to the point of the story. Interviews with the five percussion members played in and out among video footage of rehearsals and eventual plans and preparations to travel.

It wasn’t as painful as watching paint dry, but the metaphor springs to mind.

The final scenes of the film, which show the resulting performance by the percussionists and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, were the most interesting of the feature. Viewers are finally able to see the result of the journey they were just dragged through for the past 45 minutes.

As talented as the group was, such a stale film did them an injustice. Time would have been much better spent at an actual performance.

Featured Image: The audience watches Dare to Drum at Thinline in Denton, Texas. Parts of the film feature the origin of drumming, displaying black and white photographs. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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