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
Moodoo (David Gulpilil) shows another side of the coin: How Aborigines were forced to co-exist within the system. Previously, the story never revealed the reasons for Moodoo being a hunter of his own people, another reality of the Stolen Generation's story. David Gulpilil added an unexpected regalness to the character of Moodoo, making the tracker who pursues the girls even more of a formidable adversary than originally conceived. See more »
The bush they hide behind when they meet the friendly bushman is the same bush they hide behind later when avoiding the tracker. See more »
Wonderful story about the transcendence of the human spirit
I've seen several movies recently ("Adaptation," "The Hours," "Bowling for Columbine," "City of God," etc.), and "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is the best of the bunch. It's a simple story, but a very moving one. In particular, the performances by the young leads, the beautiful cinematography, and the wise, uncluttered script made this a strong cinematic experience for me. Kenneth Branagh was convincing as the racial purity zealot who manages the whole forced removal scheme. I also really enjoyed the subtle changes we see in the mysterious character of The Tracker (played with wonderfully restrained power by David Gulpilil), as his dogged pursuit of the girls eventually gives way to a dawning admiration. And to cap it all off, the closing real-life footage and text postscript leaves the audience feeling simultaneously devastated and triumphant. Wow.
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