Western Australia, 1931. Government policy includes taking half-caste 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 14, 10, and 8) arrive at their Gulag and promptly escape, under Molly's lead. For 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
The speech in the film to a Perth ladies charity society by actor Kenneth Branagh, playing A.O. Neville, was never made by the real Neville. The words did not come from a transcript found in any historical archive but were created for the film by screenwriter Christine Olsen. See more »
[in native language to her cousins]
This is your new home. We don't use that jabber here. You speak English.
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The painting songs sung by the Walpiri, Amatjere and Wangajunka women were not sacred songs, but were songs able to be performed in public. See more »
Statement movie about a bad chapter in Australian history
Official policy between 1910 and 1970 in Australia allowed half-caste Aborigine children to be forcibly removed from their families and incarcerated for their own' good in training schools where their were educated to become fitting servants for white families. This institutionalised eugenics, still recent enough to be remembered by its victims, is still a controversial issue in Australia where the PM John Howard refuses to give an official apology. The film has been doing very well in Australia. The story follows three such girls who are forcibly re-located but escape, and follow the rabbit-proof fence' on a 1500 mile journey back home. The title itself seems to echo not only the yellow brick road of the Wizard of Oz (another journey to reclaim one's wholeness) but the fence that was erected to contain animals which is just how the Aborigine children are treated, albeit with the best intentions. The story was adapted from a book by the daughter of the youngest surviving half-cast Aborigine portrayed in the film the actual child actors had mostly never seen a motion picture before let alone acted in one.
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