It's 1922; somewhere in Australia. When a Native Australian man is accused of murdering a white woman, three white men (The Fanatic, The Follower and The Veteran) are given the mission of ... See full summary »
An Aboriginal student on the west coast of Australia in the late '60s runs away from a Catholic boarding school with his cruel headmaster in hot pursuit, meeting eccentric characters along the journey back to his home town.
In Australia's Northern Territory, a man tells us a story of his people and his land. It's about an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and realizes that his younger brother Dayindi may try to steal away the youngest wife.
Rolf de Heer,
Lena is the daughter of an Aboriginal mother and Irish father and Vaughn is a Murri boy doing time in a minimum security prison in North West NSW. Dramatic events throw them together on a journey with no money and no transport.
Jenna Lee Connors
Western Australia, 1931. Government policy includes taking half-white, half-Aboriginal children from their Aboriginal mothers and sending them a thousand miles away to what amounts to indentured servitude, "to save them from themselves." Molly, Daisy, and Grace (two sisters and a cousin who are fourteen, ten, and eight) arrive at their Gulag and promptly escape, under Molly's lead. For several days they walk north, following a fence that keeps rabbits from settlements, eluding a native tracker and the regional constabulary. Their pursuers take orders from the government's "Chief Protector of Aborigines", A.O. Neville, blinded by Anglo-Christian certainty, evolutionary world view, and conventional wisdom. Can the girls survive?Written by
As each day of filming went by, the lack of acting experience of the three central young Aboriginal cast members was revealed as a bonus. Director Phillip Noyce explained: "We were never looking for professional technique from these kids, and preferred them not to be knowing." Instead, Noyce had searched for what were the basic personality traits that each one of them brought to their parts. Importantly, Noyce emphasized "that he wanted them to be children, innocent, helpless, and trying to cope with a very difficult situation." See more »
Far into the story the film shows the view from Mr. Neville's office window, allowing us to see a few applicants. Among those is a couple whose application had been rejected early in the story by Mr. Neville. Obviously the same set served different scenes that were far apart in time. See more »
MILD SPOILER AHEAD: This is the 200th film I have reviewed for IMDb and one of the most satisfying. Phil Noyce has produced here a piece of cinematic poetry when it could have easily been tendentious agit-prop. The story from the 1930s of three half-cast aboriginal girls walking 2000 km of Western Australia to escape the clutches of white assimilationists is seen through their frame of reference. We see the harsh beauty of the countryside as they do, not an alien landscape but as their back yard. They have all been brought up in the desert and together know how to survive, a point eventually realised by their pursuers, who then lie in wait at their destination.
The three young girls, Mollie, Grace and Daisy, are stunningly portrayed by Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sainsbury and Laura Monaghan. Molly, at 14 the oldest, has the largest part but the three of them function together as if they really were sisters. Their mother and grandmother , played by Ningali Lawson and Myana Lawson (daughter and mother in real life) are equally convincing, as is David Gulpilil as the relentless black tracker.
The most difficult role in the film is that of A O Neville (Mr Devil, as the aborigines called him), Chief Protector of Aborigines, a sincere and energetic advocate of the monstrous policy which resulted in a generation or more of half-cast children being removed from their families. It would be easy to pillory Neville as a monster, but Kenneth Branagh manages to give us a rounded picture of a man who was not inhumane, who tried to advance what he saw as the welfare of his charges despite lack of money and enormous logistical problems (not to mention an unco-operative police force). Had it not been for these obstacles the aboriginality of Australia would probably have been reduced to a few scattered reserves in the deserts run as freak shows for tourists.
Some critics of the armchair lefty variety have criticised the movie as not being political enough, and its true there's plenty of room for righteous (or leftist) indignation on the topic of the stolen generation, but I think a more overt political message would have diminished it. Imagine say, if John Pilger had made this film. Instead we have a near-classic. Never I have I seen the visual power of the Australian landscape better depicted, and seldom have I seen a better celebration of the human spirit. And this is a true story. The real Molly and Daisy take their bows at the end. Things didn't quite work out for them the way they might have, but they survived and stayed with their people.
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