Hangs Upon Nothing (2014) - full transcript

HANGS UPON NOTHING documents the lives of surfers: Chuck Corbett who wandered his way to the remote atolls of Kiribati, brothers Mikala and Daniel Jones whose adventures take them to the far corners of the Indonesian archipelago, alongside a local crew of teenage surfers coming of age amongst the surf mecca of Bali. First-time filmmaker, Jeremy Rumas' HANGS UPON NOTHING, is as much a celebration of surfing as it is a stunningly beautiful exploration of mystical cultures where modern technology and millennia of history intersect. Shot entirely on 16mm film using a mechanical spring-wound Bolex, over the course of seven years, and featuring an ethereal original score by Rumas' band, Velo Sun, HANG UPON NOTHING is a sensory journey of finding freedom in barreling waves.

(buildup of ethereal sound)

(slow buildup of music)

[Voiceover] Yeah,
it depends on...

You have to be comfortable
out there at sea.

Where your boat is your house,

or your...

You have to, you have to work
it so you have a sea life,

and that you're, you're
part of the um...

There's two types of people.

There's the ones who's,

they're frightened
of the dark and

what's around each corner,

and then there's the
other ones who...

Just like surfing, it's they're,

they're, they're dealing
with it as it, as it comes.

(young women singing
in Kiribati)

- [Voiceover]
Yeah, there you go.

Yeah, so uh, which sailing
school did you go to?

[Voiceover] We're self
teaching ourselves right now.

[Voiceover] You did what?

[Voiceover] We don't
know bananas about sailing,

we're learning as
we go right now.

[Voiceover] (laughing)

Does Jeremy know this?

[Voiceover] Yeah, he's
finding that out now.

In fact, he knew a few
little things today, so.

Yeah, I have lots of miles
of going around the ocean,

but I just don't have any miles

where I'm sailing
my own boat, so,

so we're learning as we go.

(women laughing)

Over the years I've
met people back to back

and one person talks
about their passage

being a real horrible passage,

and the next guy arrives

and says it's just
another walk in the park.


(serene atmospheric music)

(islanders singing in Kiribati)

(serene, sparse electric
guitar music)

(tranquil music)

I asked myself a
soul-searching question.

Why was I out there?


And the reason why
I was out there,

was to surf and enjoy life

and not to try to change things
politically or culturally.

And whenever you get
involved with politics,

wherever you live, that's
a whole different arena.

(old man singing in Kiribati)

(dreamlike music)

One writer a hundred years ago

termed it as a transculturalite.

One person who
temporarily or permanently

relocates into another culture

and lives under their,

lives and abides by their
values of that, of that culture.

[Voiceover] Have
you gone troppo?

[Voiceover] Yeah,
I think I've...

reached the point
at times where I've

been absolutely nutty out there.

I think most everybody
gets to that point

and usually when they do,

they get to the point
where they say screw it,

and they...

They, they go back.

I most certainly have
been to that point

where I absolutely hit,

hit this wall where...

(tranquil music with
percussion buildup)

(buildup of bombastic music)

(guitar feedback)

(serene music)

(mid-tempo music)

[Voiceover] I can tell you
where my life began,

when I was, when I
was three years old

we did a trip to Tahiti

and I can remember all
of that clear as yesterday.

And when there's photos
of me being three, and uh,

yeah, ask me anything
about it, I could tell you.

[Voiceover] Well, what
did, who'd you go with

and what did you guys do?

[Voiceover] It
was a family trip,

it was before Daniel was born.

My mom and dad and
my sister Malia,

we had a VW thing,

we did a boat ride to
the end of the road

and uh, caught fish, and
we fed all these fish heads

in a river to all these eels.

I remember topless girls,

I remember canoe rides,

I remember walking
out on a starless,

no, on a moonless night
and there's stars everywhere.

I remember waking
up in the morning

and our seats in our car, 'cause
there's no top on the car,

it was soaking wet.

What else do I remember... I
remember everything.

That's as far back as
I can ever remember.

[Voiceover] Did you
surf at all on that trip?

[Voiceover] Um, probably
on my dad's board, with him,

but not by myself, I was three.


[Voiceover] Did this
trip have any like...

[Voiceover] Significant...

[Voiceover] Yeah,
significant impact

on your direction in life?

[Voiceover] Yeah,
I would say it did.

(serene atmospheric organ music)

(mid-tempo music)

(tranquil music)

(acoustic guitar music)

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Yo

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ I will never go

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

♪ Someday

♪ Someday I will think about you

(serene music)

(tranquil music)

(upbeat music)

[Voiceover] Just being able
to be in the water every day,

and you know, if it's
not crowded and...

Just to see what the land looks
like from out on the ocean

is usually really
peaceful for me.

But also just surfing with
my friends and my family,

that's usually my
favorite part, is just...

Just being in the water
with someone like,

you know like people
you care about.

That's usually the
most magical parts,

parts of surfing for me.

(peaceful music)

(buildup of guitar, percussion,
and vocals)

♪ Gone like a
whisper in the wind

♪ Alone like the
last tree standing

♪ Vagrant man chanting
while wandering

(speaking in Balinese)

♪ I heard voices in
the cold hallways

[Voiceover] What
are your feelings on

what Bali has become and
like where it's headed?

[Voiceover] Yeah man, Bali
before full of rice field,

now full of concrete, you know?

I feel before like live in

dreams, you know?

It hard to find now, you know?

Like, if you go to Canggu,

it's rice field all, you
know, you drive bicycle,

like rice field everywhere,
and even in Legian,

you know, Legian street?

Like, toward east
side, all rice field.

And now? Concrete.

I don't know.

Another 10 years
maybe all over Bali

gonna be concrete, you know?

(chattering in Balinese)

[Voiceover] Tell me a little
bit about Blacky

[Voiceover] Oh, Blacky.


He become nice,
sometime he become uh,

really annoying,

and sometime become...

Little cunt. (Laughing)

But yeah.

He might be a good surfer later

because he charges
a lot, you know?

He just do it...

Everythings you know,
even like dry reef

he go like, dead low,
and then big slab,

he just paddle in, you know?

He never say no.

Yeah, Tonjo and
Bleronk, they're...



Some westerners don't
realize that they are twins.

After they...

Realize the sticker of
the board, you know?

'Cause sometimes
you go paddle in,

oh this guy already get wave.


Three times, four
times in a row, like.

And then they realize,
oh these guys twins.

Yeah, they surf
pretty good, they...

They just compete
really well this year

and then Tonjo...

Did good this year and then

hope next year

he gonna be like the
champion from Indonesia, so...

Yeah, we just hope, you know?

(serene music)

(child crying)


(serene music)

[Voiceover] Thank you Cam.

[Voiceover] It's alright.

[Voiceover] Sounded great.

(serene music and
mosque calls in distance)

(tranquil ukulele music)

(dreamlike music)


[Voiceover] When the
kite season coming up, oh!

Everybody crazy.

They goes into bamboo
everything but,

when I was younger, at school,

I'm at school, but I don't
thinking my study at all.

Is my kite there, oh
on the top of the cloud?

That's what I'm thinking.

I don't thinking, yeah,
I was thinking study,

but not 100%.

Also thinking some
girl a bit, you know?

But 100% thinking
kite, kite, kite.

As soon I came home,

sometimes we don't
eat, just kite.

You know?

There's a Gods of
kite too in Bali.

We believe there's
god of kite, like,

and also, I even
late go to school

because my kite.

I put my kite like, about a week

and then suddenly the
wind got drop...

(serene music)

(slow music and
guitar feedback crescendo)

(atmospheric music)

[Voiceover] I tried to get it,

but I'm late, so.

I don't know out
the back coming through,

the big one, like
two, two waves,

and the first one it was big,
it's like nine or 10 feet, yeah.

Fuck, I was like, scary,
oh my God,

maybe I break my
surfboard or leash

maybe I get stuck on
the reef over there.

Maybe I get washed away,
you know?

I don't have any help there, so.

When the wave break me,

I throw my surfboard,

and in my heart I
just praying, praying,

and say help, help me God.

I say, I don't want to die now.


Yeah it's, miracle and
I get, no,

my surfboard not break

and my leash not
break and I was safe.

And the other, the second
one it break me again, fuck...

and it's alright, so I get safe.

♪ I've never been on
this road before

♪ Might never be on it again

♪ Never stepped on
this reef before

♪ Never see it again

♪ I've never met this
girl before

♪ But I hope I'll see
her again

♪ On and on

♪ On and on we go

♪ Far away

♪ Far from home

♪ On and on

♪ On and on we go

♪ Far away

♪ Far from home

[Voiceover] I
remember the first time

I ever rode a Bonzer,

Mikala brought it home,

and I remember on my first wave,

like I did like one pump
and then one more pump

and I was going faster
than I've ever been

like on any other surfboard
out at Rocky Point.

On my first wave, I was
like, wow this is amazing.

I was just going really fast,

I was coming into
the inside section,

and this guy drops in on me

and I swear he was
like 15 feet away

and within like one second,

I just ran straight
into his back

and I hit him going so fast

I got all the air
knocked out of me

and we were underwater
and I just felt,

I felt this like
round, I don't know,

I felt something kind of
like, down by my stomach

and I just squeezed
it as hard as I could

and I think it's the
guy's head and he came up,

'cause I was really
angry, like it hurt,

like I ran into the back
of him, he was a big guy.

I just started squeezing
his head underwater

and when we came up
he's like, oh sorry man!

I was like hey bro, no problem,

don't worry about it.


(upbeat music)

(serene music)

(bombastic music)

[Voiceover] Yeah
for sure if like,

some people curious like,

what's it look like, like,

as we know as
western world like,

party bar or
something like that.

Because that's not our
culture, that's part of

western culture, there's bar,
because we don't have bar.

We do have warung

like, warung makan, but not bar.

Yeah we do have arak,
but alcohol, but...

(loud music)

Western world is

Coming, coming up like drugs.

Yeah of course I
want to know like,

just curious want to
know how does it taste?

How does it feel like?

Yeah, I knew a bit little
of drugs...

But not really into it, just...

Just enough to taste it...

Many bars here like
sometime annoying you

because loud music...

(music drowns out speaker)

(loud music)

(tranquil music)

(singing in Indonesian)

(electric guitar strumming)


[Voiceover] Yesterday
scary, today yeah good.

[Voiceover] So why
scared yesterday?

[Voiceover] Huh?

[Voiceover] Why scared?

[Voiceover] Too low tide.

[Voiceover] Oh.

It looked really good
after you guys came in,

when I walked up on that bluff.

It looked perfect.

[Voiceover] If you there
it looked scary! (Laughter)

(guitar and drums buildup)

(serene music)

(acoustic guitar music)


(chattering in Indonesian)

(ladies singing in Balinese)

(speaking from Balinese temple)

(singing from Balinese temple)

(speaking from Balinese temple)

(singing from Balinese temple)

(speaking from Balinese temple)

(singing in Balinese)

(speaking from Balinese temple)

(singing from Balinese temple)

(slow guitar and drums buildup)

(bombastic music)

(acoustic guitar music)

♪ Sunday morning at 7:30

(singing in Indonesian)

♪ Na na na na

♪ Na na na na

♪ Na na na

♪ Na na na na na

♪ Na na na

♪ Na na na na yay yeah

(singing in Indoesian)

♪ I grab my guitar

♪ Slow down on the beach

♪ I'll play sweet song

♪ But it's not love song, say

(singing in Indonesian)

♪ Happy holiday

♪ On this island

♪ I will keep this
memory in my mind

♪ Happy holiday

♪ On this island

♪ I will keep this memory

♪ For all the time

♪ Holiday

♪ A holiday

♪ Yeah

♪ With all my friends

♪ A holiday

♪ A holiday

♪ Yeah

♪ With all my friends

♪ Na na na

♪ A holiday

♪ Yeah

♪ With all my friends

♪ A holiday

♪ A holiday

♪ Yeah

♪ With all my friends

[Voiceover] It's
supposed to be like the...

- [Voiceover] Kadek!
- [Voiceover] Kadek!

[Voiceover] How are you,
Mr. Jeremy?

[Voiceover] Good, how are you?

Glad you could make it man.

[Voiceover] I just make
up the drift one...

(serene organ music)