Film Review: Waiting for The T(r)ain

Waiting for The (T)rain | Simon Panay | 25‘ | France

Drought term context won’t be out much from poverty. Moreover slavery and colonialism are walking side by side leaving discrimination and social violence memories. Status domination even more prominent when there’s race difference that bounded. Stereotype and hatefulness between two people generated from groups, nourishing the sustained hatred.

An isolated village in West Africa, Burkina Faso, narrated a same story. When forced construction of railroad in colonial regime that took so moch lives became breadwinners for the village’s people. Let alone water, meets and fruits that eaten obtained twice a week is from the train’s passenger when passed the village. Portrait and life history of a village in the poorest country in time to time, recorded on story jump of each persons through ethnography film Waiting for The T(r)ain by Simon Panay.

Drought and water stress became the main issue that portrayed in this film. African land that dominated with desert and badlands, moreover in area that confined with land are representated vividly. Becoming intriduction on citizen’s social and  economy condition of ‘honest people land’. Problematics then not only limited in needs of water, but the effort to stay alive and living from limited nature resources.

Perhaps, this problem is already becoming general issue for inhabitants of dry area like Burkina. Animal husbandry is an alternative of work that still be able to do since long ago. But, farm is the source on income that always threatened, especially in main dry season. Gender role as if refracted when faced by not feasible situation and underprivileged. Conflict between villlages caused by not so different issue reaps empathy when Simon Panay and crews presented village resident’s routine situations in detail and vividly.

High population growth is still a problem in every less developed country. Adding imbalance in income and needs that must be fulfilled. Life expectancy and future seemed to be a fortune that couldn’t be forseen. Education becomes the only choice to move on from misery. Track recond on Bagnanitanga school establishment on November 2007, narrated by one of the teacher. A big step for the village resident to be free from illiteracy. But, one big step is always having challenges and upheaval later on. That knowledge is not only cross beamed by cost, but also language is taking part in giving problems.

Formerly, Burkina Faso was called by Upper Volta. Had become France protectorate and fused with France-American Citizen, national language of this country is French Language. But, in the several isolated villages are using local languages, Dioula and More. This phenomenons seems like not only occured in Burkina, but also in less developed countries all around the world. Complex problem that given less attention from any governments. Teachers that usually placed in isolated areas are also based on voluntary projects which is not demanding big wages. It can be imagined how many people that want to do that. It’s s certainly equal with the current educational realism.

This documentary film with 25 minutes of duration presented several personal life story that lived in the same space. Faced with the same limitation but each of that undergo with different thought and principle. A choice, hope, anger, empathy, and sympathy are becoming a perpective in every stories that could change our way to stay alive, even seeing life from another side. Presented with interesting shooting angle, Simon Panay and crews are able to accentuate every details of situations and expressions. The background music is giving a touch cultural as well as dramatic. Reviving the audiences about our excessive needs but becomes something nadir from another life. [NR Novika/Ellyta Rahmayandi]

Simon Panay | 25‘ | France

10 Desember 2016 | IFI-LIP YOGYAKARTA | 16:30


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