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By Danny J. Gibson
Directed by: Volker Schlondorff / 1979
Childlike lenses...we all need to wear them more often. Children may seem restless, but their world is a heck of lot more content than the adult one. Even when they do scream at high volumes and bang on stuff, they get to play for a living and seem more in-tune with the simplest of things. Some adults can find this too, though some play a little too hard and dangerously. I certainly believe in a healthy dose of growing up, but you've got to play and be a kid too. For me, I just want to play all day by making my art and paying tribute to the creation of the world in whatever my meager ways I have to contribute. I want to live and see with more childlike lenses.
I want to be like the little German boy Oskar who receives a tin drum at the age of three and declares to stop growing as he falls down a flight of steps. He is disgruntled and confused by the adults and their ways in the pre-dawn days of World War II. From that day forth, until his early '20s (when he decides to grow again) whenever the outside world got to be too much, Oskar banged on the tin drum and produced a glass breaking shriek. This was his art and way of coping.
Adapted from Gunther Grass's book, "The Tin Drum" is a marvelous moviemaking feast and has already shoved into my top ten favorite film shelf. It is charming, magical, maddening, fresh, creative, masterful, important, special, perfect, beautiful, historical, unique, brave and warming...among many on a list of things that give it my official stamp of CINEMADHESIVE. I can barely spit the film strip out fast enough as it completely absorbs me and the past few days it’s all I’ve really thought about. Like it did in the 1980s and even in 1997, the film might come with controversy or obscenity on eyes rubbed the wrong way. But, I think "The Tin Drum" is genius at the highest level of the arts. I can also find relation with confused little Oskar and his extremely compelling journey. I too simply want to see and communicate by banging on my drum all day. Sadly, if I proclaimed to stop growing at the age of 29, it just wouldn’t be the same and many things would still be expected of me. I can succeed in my own little ways, but sometimes the drags and blahs of the adult world snip my balloons and eat all my cotton candy. Most of the time I just don’t “get” the grown-up world. But, I think we all have our crying fits with that and just like a children we have to get back up and try again. Its life and life only and you must play the game. But, a life of drum beating doesn’t sound too shabby to me.