Sunday, July 24, 2016

Another Country

David Gulpilil is one of Australia's most famous actors, and certainly its most famous indigenous one. He's the voice of Another Country and while he didn't write the script by himself , the politics and the viewpoint is his. Molly Reynolds and Rolf de Heer  who co-wrote the script and directed and produced the film are so familiar with how he thinks that they were able to convey it easily.

Another Country documents life in David's home town, Ramingining, not just for the sake of documenting but because it epitomises what's wrong with aboriginal communities in Australia and what's wrong with the government's management of the people that live there. It's miles from anywhere and as David says, there are no jobs and there's nothing to do.

One of the bests aspects of the film was the summaries of the differences in culture and ways of thinking between "white mans" and black fellas" culture. For example, he says that rubbish is a foreign concept to indigenous Australians - it's not on their radar and they don't know how to deal with it. Historically, everything they had came from the bush and that's where it all went back to. So a broken spear or a worn out mat was just left in the bush, and since it is all biodegradable, there isn't a problem.

He doesn't offer complete solutions but does think there needs to be consultation between the Australian Government and aboriginal communities. And the results of the consultation shouldn't just be viewed with white values and white eyes. For example, paying white builders to come and build houses may be quicker and more efficient, but it makes the locals feels worthless and doesn't take advantage of one of their great resources,  which is time.

As is often the case after watching a documentary I felt a mixture of hope and sadness. It would be good if it were compulsory viewing for all Australian members of parliament.

Anne's rating 3/5.

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