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Partly because there is such concentrated concern about the threatened disappearance of Aboriginal culture in Australia, a surprising number of movies are dedicated to the subject, more, in fact, than I have been able to find on the indigenous peoples of Africa and the Americas.  The classic film on the meeting of modern British and ancient Aborigine (say Ab-origin-nee)* culture is Walkabout (1969), which gets its own blog below.

Best known of the new millennium treatments of the Aboriginal plight is Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002).  It documents the shameful practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families and placing them in “schools” where they were trained to work as servants in white households or in other menial jobs.  It appears that I am in the minority in claiming Werner Herzog’s Where the Green Ants Dream (1984) as one of my favorites of this genre.  Even so, I stand shoulder to shoulder with Roger Ebert on this matter. I will use this movie as the central focus of my blog, “Aboriginal Movies,” found below.

Apart from the movies mentioned above, there are two others that put Aboriginals in the foreground of the picture, and they are relatively obscure.  One is The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), and the other is Ten Canoes (2006).  The second of these tells a traditional legend and features an entirely Aboriginal cast.  Among those involved in the conception and execution of this work was David Gulpilil, who became famous as a young man for his key role in Walkabout.  He enjoyed his celebrity at first and traveled to Europe and the US in style. He appeared in over a dozen films after Walkabout, always playing the strange Aboriginal, but his is the sad tale of a man thrust into a world where he does not belong and faring badly.  The arc of David Gulpilil’s career has far more to say about the Aboriginal experience than any one of the movies in which he has appeared. See David Gulpilil Movies below.

*Aborigine is capitalized just as American Indian is capitalized.


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