I have to be honest. When Thin Line Film Festival opened in Denton for the first time six years ago, I had never watched a documentary. Hold on before you gasp! Of course I sat through hundreds of documentary and educational films in school. I’m old enough that my academic life spanned that of film’s from flickery 8mm to high-def. So, I’ve watched my share of docs. What I mean to say is that it had never occurred to me to watch a doc for the fun of it.
Now don’t judge. This is not a creative or intelligent measurement – whether one opts for docs or not. I don’t even watch much TV in general. I’m a reader. But then along came Thin Line. Since our job in the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau is to promote Denton and all of our happenings, I went, and let’s just say I finally got it. Last year for Christmas, our kids gave my husband and me Apple TV which is like Netflix on steroids. It still sometimes surprises even me when a doc is our pick over a box office flick for a relaxing evening.
So now six years later, I look forward to Thin Line and catch as many docs as I can during it its 9-day run in Downtown Denton. The 2013 festival opened last night with Blood Brother, an incredible story about a guy, Rocky, who falls in love with a compound full of HIV infected children in India, becoming a big brother who holds their hands, hugs them, tosses them playfully in the air, dries their tears. When visa problems send him back to America for a couple of months, he is unable to fit comfortably in the American landscape. His heart was in India and he spent his forced sabbatical getting himself back there.
My biggest take-away from the film? Foundational within American culture is the pursuit of happiness, an innocently, entitled expectation of happy endings. Rocky comments on the stark extremes between the children playing in his American neighborhood and the children making fun from dust in India. He reminds us that the rest of the world has no concept for happy endings. They don’t hope for anything more than what is. Today is enough. They cannot conjure the idea that a person might think of themselves as deserving more than what simply is. Why, that’s as foreign to their imagination’s experience as docs by choice were to mine until just a few years ago.
Today, I’m checking out a couple of films: Raid of the Rainbow Lounge at 4:00 and then Snark Puppy: Ground Up at 8:00. They’ll be different than Blood Brother. But then, isn’t that the beauty of docs?