The Australian Outback - 1932. Entranced by the moon, a young girl steps out of her bedroom window. When her parents check on her, she is gone. The police suggest aboriginal tracker Albert lead the search, but the father revolts - insisting - no black-fella is to set foot on my land. Instead, he gathers together as many white men as he can find, and conducts a line search across the desolate plains in search of the child. Albert watches helplessly as her every trace is stamped to dust. Sometime later, the daughter is still missing, and the mother makes a decision to take responsibility into her own hands, to reconcile the loss of her child. She goes to find Albert... Written by
Innovative enacted local drama through the medium of opera.
Well here's a real gem.
Based on the tragic theme of missing children and on a singular incident that happened in 1932 (The year the Sydney Harbor Bridge opened) when an aboriginal tracker was called in to look for a young girl that had wandered off into the Australian outback, this haunting and quite inspirational work plays out the drama primarily in words and mime.
At the recent premiere of the film in Sydney, a hushed audience was totally swept up in the magic of Rachel Perkins' film. Paul Kelly in his big-screen debut, plays the rugged early settler with Fairfax as his wife (she is in real-life!). Their daughter Memphis, plays The Child, who is seduced by the beauty of the moon and follows the graceful orb out of her window one evening. The intriguingly named Kelton Pell, is the Tracker whose commission it is to find the girl and whose task is tragically cut short.
Recurring themes of loss and reconciliation are proposed, enhanced and challenged by this beautiful film, where dialog is kept to a minimum and opera used to nurture and cajole the audience's sympathy. As Paul Kelly himself commented "This is a story of knowledge offered and knowledge rejected."
Perkins, director of the highly acclaimed RADIANCE, has come up with a genuine work of art here, at once innovative and emotionally consuming, you can taste the tragedy! Two other aspects which demand comment: The wonderful musical score from Paul Kelly, who doubles as Composer (in itself a screen rarity) has handed in an unforgettable companionable work that frames and cushions the unfolding drama while Kim Batterham's cinematography simply blew the audience away!
This film was commissioned by Paul Grabowsky, head of Australia's ABC Arts and Entertainment, in collaboration with the Kevin Lucas's Music Arts/Dance Films as well as the OZ Opera Group. If you want to see something completely unique in the way of filmed operatic drama, catch this!
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