Set in western Australia of 1931, this is the true story of three young half-cast Aboriginal girls taken from the Jigalong “mob” in the north and transported to a training camp 1200 miles to the south. As cruel as this may sound, there were some Brits who honestly felt they were helping the downtrodden Aborigines assimilate to the inevitability of High Civilization. Kenneth Branagh embodies the rigidity and sense of civilizing mission of the dominant British government. He plays Mr. Neville, chief Protector of the aborigines. It is by his decree that they are taken, and he makes it a personal quest to affect their return when they escape from the camp. Part of their training was to be forbidden to speak their own language; only English. They are to be trained to work as household servants for British families. The girls are following the rabbit-proof fence they know to extend from the south coast to the north coast. Jigalong Depot is near the fence. An Aborigine tracker, called Moodoo (Gulpilil) is hired to bring them back but he has little success. Their journey took nine months and one of them, Gracie, was captured. She is now dead. The older and youngest, Molly and Daisy, made it back to their family. One of them was sent, some years later, back to the camp with her daughter. She escaped and made the same trek again. In the end we see the two old women, Molly and Daisy walking into the camera. These policies finally ended in 1970. The daughter of one of the two survivors wrote the book.
The DVD has a documentary on the making of this film. It concentrates on the white male director’s efforts to get performances from three aboriginal children who had never acted before. It was primarily to this “Lost Generation” that the Australian government directed its apology in 2008.
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