Starring: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Clarke, David Gulpilil
Director: Phillip Noyce
Perhaps better known for action and thriller pics, like Clear and Present Danger for example, Noyce here turned his attention to Australian history and something that for a long time was a bit of a dirty secret: the stolen generations.
In 1931, three “half caste” girls are taken from their mothers arms by the government and sent to learn how to be servants and be assimilated into the social order. Whilst the party line was that they were doing the native population a favour, the real goal was annihilation of the Aboriginal.
The three girls, Daisy, Gracie and Molly range from 14 to about 4 years old, and the home they are sent to is pretty bleak. They manage to sneak away, and lead a tracker and the police on a merry chase as they determinedly head back across the 1500 miles home, following the rabbit proof fence that will lead home.
Why Is It A Must See: This film is a good film in it’s own right. The landscape is beautiful, and the children are captivating and give natural performances, it’s also well paced. But what really makes it important is that the Stolen Generations stories should be told, and the amazing trek that these children undertook is based on a real memoir. It’s a story of courage and strength, and I think it’s also interesting who is willing to help them and who wants to catch them. It’s not simple.
From what I understand, children were still being taken from their parents until the 70’s, which is shocking. This film is often very sad, and I think it gets across so well just how ignorant and damaging this scheme was. It’s heart breaking. But I also found the girls so inspiring.
See It If: you are interested in Australian film or history, this one is for you. I also found the girls pretty tough and inspiring.