Artwork: tarmunggie-woman by Cheryl Moggs
In 2018 NAIDOC Week runs July 8-15. This years theme is Because of Her, We Can! and celebrates the essential role that women have played – and continue to play – as active and significant role models at the community, local, state and national levels.
To help celebrate NAIDOC Week we have gathered together a collection of films that highlight the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait filmmakers and actors.
You can find (or request) these titles and more at your local library. The library is also an excellent resource to expand your knowledge and understanding. Many libraries will have exhibitions and events to help celebrate and inform during this week.
Putuparri and the Rainmakers
Documentary | M
Director: Nicole Ma
Putuparri and the Rainmakers is a universal story about the sacred relationship between people and place. It takes audiences on a rare and emotional journey to meet the traditional rainmakers of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert who have fought a twenty-year battle to win back their traditional homeland. The film spans ten transformative years in the life of Tom ‘Putuparri’ Lawford as he navigates the deep chasm between his Western upbringing and his growing determination to fight for his family’s homeland. Set against the backdrop of their long fight to reclaim their traditional lands, Putuparri and the Rainmakers is an emotional, visually breathtaking story of love, hope and the survival of Aboriginal law and culture against all odds.
Adventure | MA15+
Director: Warwick Thornton
Cast: Hamilton Morris, Tremayne Doolan, Trevon Doolan
Set in 1929 in the outback of the Northern Territory, Australia. When Aboriginal stockman Sam (Hamilton Morris) kills white station owner Harry March (Ewen Leslie) in self-defence, Sam and his wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber) go on the run. They are pursued across the outback, through glorious but harsh desert country. Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) leads the posse with the help of Aboriginal tracker Archie (Gibson John) and local landowners Fred Smith (Sam Neill) and Mick Kennedy (Thomas M. Wright). Fletcher is desperate to capture Sam and put him on trial for murder – but Sam is an expert bushman and he has little difficulty outlasting them. Eventually, for the health of his pregnant wife, Sam decides to give himself up. He is put on trial in the courtroom of Judge Taylor (Matt Day). But will justice be served?
Bran Nue Dae
Comedy | PG
Director: Rachel Perkins
Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo
Going home never felt so good…
Award-winning Director Rachel Perkins (One Night the Moon and Radiance) brings this Australian musical sensation to the screen with an all-star cast. In the Summer of 1965 a young man is filled with the life of the idyllic old pearling port Broome – fishing, hanging out with his mates and his girl. However his mother returns him to the religious mission for further schooling. After being punished for an act of youthful rebellion, he runs away from the mission on a journey that ultimately leads him back home.
Mad Dog Morgan
Classic | MA15+
Director: Philippe Mora
Cast: Dennis Hopper, Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil
Set in gold rush-era Victoria, this violent, rollicking portrayal of Irish outlaw Dan Morgan (played brilliantly by Dennis Hopper – Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now) is a classic of the Australian cinema revival. A prospector who turns to crime after failing at gold mining, Morgan spends six years in prison before terrorizing country Victoria as a marauding bushranger along with a young Aboriginal (David Gulpilil, Walkabout). But soon madness and revenge cause the infamous outlaw to self-destruct. Contrasting the brutality of the colonial era with the majestic beauty of the Australian bush, director Phillip Mora (Communion) combined with an all-star Australian cast including Bill Hunter, Jack Thompson and John Hargreaves to create a must-see action drama in the tradition of The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith.
Drama | M
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Cast: David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg, Jenny Agutter
Nicolas Roeg’s mystical masterpiece chronicles the physical, spiritual, and emotional journey of a sister and brother abandoned in the harsh Australian outback. Joining an Aboriginal on his walkabout – a tribal initiation into manhood – these modern children pass from innocence into experience as they are thrust from the comforts of civilisation into the savagery of the natural world. One of the most individualistic and visually accomplished filmmakers of our time, Roeg perfectly captures the tragic conflict between natural instincts and civilised behaviour.
Drama | M
Director: Stephen Johnson
Cast: John Sebastian Pilakui, Nathan Daniels, Sean Mununggurr
Lorrpu, Botj and Milika are three Yolngu (Aboriginal) teenagers who once shared a childhood dream of becoming great hunters together. But as teenagers they changed: Botj did bad things which landed him in jail one time, and Milika is more interested in being a good football player and in chicks! Only Lorrpu is still closer to Aboriginal traditions and to their common dream.One night Botj goes too far and he’s about to return to jail. Lorrpu must weigh up his own future against saving the future of his friend. Therefore the three boys start to trek to Darwin to argue Botj’s case with tribal leader Dawu. To survive during their hard journey in the bush and the forest, they must use the ancient Aboriginal knowledge, Botj’s street instinct, and the bonds of their friendship.
Drama | M
Director: Rolf de Heer
Cast: David Gulpilil, Gary Sweet, Damon Gameau
The Australian outback, 1922…. four men relentlessly track a fugitive, an aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman. In charge of the expedition is the Fanatic (Gary Sweet), calculating and complex. The Follower (Damon Gameau) is new to the frontier, a greenhorn. The Veteran (Grant Page) is along for the ride, placing thoughts before action. But all three white men are dependant on the mysterious figure of the black Tracker (David Gulpilil). When an interrogation of a small group of indigenous people turns into a massacre, paranoia sets in and the question becomes not will the fugitive be caught, but what is black and what is white… and who is leading whom?
Rabbit Proof Fence
Drama | PG
Director: Phillip Noyce
Cast: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Kenneth Branagh
Based on a True Story.
In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a journey across the Outback. It’s the 1930’s in outback Australia. Three young Aboriginal girls – sisters Molly (Everlyn Sampi) and Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and their cousin Gracie (Laura Monaghan) are snatched from their mothers’ arms in Jigalong, Western Australia and sent to a remote settlement at Moore River, 1500 miles away from home, distanced from their mothers and forced to adapt to a strange new world. The girls attempt the impossible and embark on a daring escape.What ensues is an epic journey across an unforgiving landscape that will test the girls’ very will to survive. Their only resources – tenacity, determination, ingenuity and each other. Their one hope – find the rabbit-proof fence that might just guide them home.
Adventure | M
Director: Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr
Cast: Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil, Richard Birrinbirrin
A story within a story. In Australia’s Northern Territory, a man tells us one of the stories of his people and his land. It’s a story of an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and realizes that his younger brother Dayindi may try to steal away the youngest wife. So, over a few days and several trips to hunt and gather, Minygululu tells Dayindi a story set in the time of their ancestors when a stranger came to the village and disrupted the lives of a serious man named Ridjimiraril, his three wives, and his younger brother Yeeralparil who had no wife and liked to visit his youngest sister-in-law. Through stories, can values be taught and balance achieved?
Samson and Delilah
Drama | MA15+
Director: Warwick Thornton
Cast: Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson, Mitjili Napanangka Gibson
Fourteen-year-old Aboriginal kids Samson and Delilah hail from an isolated community in the Central Australian desert, where – for Samson – sniffing petrol is one of the few available ways of escaping the suffocating grimness of daily life. After a persistent campaign to gain Delilah’s affections, Samson steals the community’s sole motor car and persuades her to elope with him to Alice Springs... Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges.