Robert Lemelson has just made the trailer available for the film he will be presenting at this conference (Day 2):
Standing on the Edge of a Thorn is an intimate portrait of a family in rural Indonesia grappling with poverty, mental illness, and participation in the sex trade. Shot over the course of 12 years, the film centers on Iman Rohani, a former civil servant struggling with a mental disorder, who takes in Tri, an unwed pregnant teenager 30 years his junior. Iman refuses to marry Tri, which would have made her an accepted member of the village. Instead, the couple are scorned by the other villagers and become isolated. Over time, trapped by traditional values that stigmatize their relationship, Iman and Tri sink even deeper into destitution and make a series of choices that lead Tri into a life a prostitution and violence.
The narrator of the film is Iman and Tri’s daughter, Lisa, who has witnessed most of these events. Starting when Lisa was a young child, the film documents her unfolding sense of self and identity against the backdrop of a destitute and unstable family. As the film progresses, Lisa struggles to understand her parent’s predicaments, while she herself is being drawn into the sex trade. At the end of the film, we experience Lisa as a 16-year old-teenager, attempting to free herself from her parent’s conflicts and troubles, as she plans to leave the village to pursue a new life in urban Indonesia.