6 user 3 critic

Cunnamulla (2000)

Cunnamulla, 800 kilometres west of Brisbane, is the end of the railway line. In the months leading up to a scorching Christmas in the bush, there's a lot more going on than the annual ... See full summary »


Dennis O'Rourke
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cunnamulla, 800 kilometres west of Brisbane, is the end of the railway line. In the months leading up to a scorching Christmas in the bush, there's a lot more going on than the annual lizard race. Here, Aboriginal and white Australians live together but apart. Creativity struggles against indifference, eccentricity against conformity. Written by Anonymous

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it's not negative. it's a mirror & heroic
22 June 2002 | by daniel miauSee all my reviews

to those of you who think this is a negative movie, i have to disagree.

it's not depressing. it's honest in a way that most people would rather not know. it is "a picture from life's other side" (to quote an old american folk song). another thing: this is not a movie about "losers" though it may appear so to those who hold preciously to middle australia.

for those who view the characters in this film in this manner, i cannot understand you. i admire all the characters in cunnamulla, because they demonstrate spirit despite being dealt some difficult circumstances. to the other "negative" reviewers, whatever happened to your compassion? it is not o'rourke's film which is negative but your judgements on the characters in the film which are.

paul the aboriginal boy in the cycle of crime shows incredible insight and understanding of his plight. but it his attitude moreso than his understanding which i think gives him incredible strength of character. i would go as far to say that he is heroic. in telling us about his plight he says it with such innocence and acceptance. he displays neither bitterness, angst, or self-pity. i was humbled by this, and equally ashamed at the disparity of opportunities society provides to different groups of people.

and who says that dennis o'rourke was not welcome back in cunnamulla? that is not how the bulk of dennis' subjects felt towards him after they saw the film. after listening to what a lot of people say about this movie, it is obvious that people bring their prejudices, presumptions and preconceptions into this movie to interpret it. so the discourse created from this movie reveals a lot about the audience.

i think there is a lot to this film. there are several main characters who for me distill much of the essence of the australian psyche. that is, the deep-rooted skepticism to political and religous authorities. a stoic persona which has no room for sentimentality. yet below that surface there is always a tolerance there i think, and a sense of compassion. and complimenting the skepticism is a fierce sense of independence and the ability to take the micky out of oneself. this is just one small part of cunnamulla and there is a lot more to this movie than this.

i think this film is a mirror in many ways, and therefore being truthful and not prone to flattery. and if there is distortion it is for the sake of humour more than anything else.

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14 December 2000 (Australia) See more »

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