The Montebello Family are not your average Australian family; modern day smugglers, their family business is transporting drugs into Australia, and guns and exotic wildlife out, making use ... See full summary »
Redfern Now is not a procedural. It is not about indigenous vs white Australia. It isn't a series, nor is it entirely episodic.
Redfern Now confused me for a while; its format is different and sometimes challenging. Characters get developed to a certain point and then disappear (although they sometimes then reappear).
Redfern Now is the filmed equivalent of an anthology. These are short stories, compellingly told. The nature of the short story is that it forces us to engage, and care, quickly...and then move to resolution with equal pace and force - the exact opposite of lots of other quality TV - Breaking Bad, Mad Men - which have taught us that the super- long format of TV offers the generosity of time to develop stories and characters.
Yes, it sometimes employs what we recognise as clichés. That's because clichés are sometimes real, and they are always recognisable and immediate devices - pretty handy in the short story format.
The highlight of Redfern Now is the writing. Any story-teller would be proud of the way dialogue is captured here - real, witty, succinct and punctuated with telling silences.
For me, the acting can sometimes be Redfern Now's weak link. The theatre background of some of the actors sometimes makes their performances a little 'big' for the small screen. On the other hand, some performances are extraordinary, with heart, emotion and humour played out simply and beautifully.
There are lots of 'issues' in Redfern Now that signal its roots in urban Aboriginal community and culture, but many of the stories could be about contemporary Australia in any suburb. The challenges of 'belonging' in a multicultural community, where family relationships are changing, where mobility up and down the socio-economic ladder is more slippery than ever, where our notion of identity is challenged, and where the connection between past and future seems stretched to breaking point are challenges we all face. These stories have resonance well outside of not just the Redfern Aboriginal community, but outside the indigenous community entirely.
Each of the six programs (for they aren't really episodes) in the two series produced so far, have clearly been laboured over. The investment of time, skill, love and commitment shines through in a very unique way.
These are showcases of tremendous writing, beautiful production and staging, and generally great acting - from both indigenous and other actors. Redfern Now could easily become a hothouse for the next generation of Australian film and TV stars, on both sides of the camera.
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