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Indigenous People in Rabbit-proof Fence, Mabo, and Our Generation

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Films and documentaries display filmmakers with the chance to create texts to enlighten audiences about certain topics to persuade, entertain, educate, critique and observe real life. Filmmakers measures varieties of choices through the films to showcase a version of reality through their story. The film Rabbit-Proof Fence written by Christine Olsen and directed and produced by Phillip Noyce and the documentary Mabo directed by Rachel Perkins and produced by Darren Dale. Also, the film Our Generation, directed by Sinem Saban, discover issues of indigenous culture and life through their struggles for justice. This undoubtedly indicates the filmmaker’s attitudes towards the topic. Characterisation, narrative structure, subject matter, music, language choices and dialogue with film techniques and usage of interviews are all strongly working to successfully placing audiences to receive a specific viewpoint of Indigenous issues and ways of life.

The Rabbit-Proof Fence, written by Christine Olsen and directed and produced by Phillip Noyce, is about three mixed-race girls, Molly, Daisy and Gracie who are viciously separated and torn from their aboriginal mothers and drove over thousand miles away to a camp where they are trained to be a domestic worker to be apart of a government policy attempted to breed them into white society. This movie takes place in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s and is based on a true story that shows how white Australians take their children apart from their mothers. The narrative of this film has constructed the feeling of sorrow, courage, determination and faith to challenge the audience to feel a sense of emotion and hardship through the 3 mixed aboriginal girls’ journey. The camera angles of Daisy getting caught in the climax shows a full shot is being used in the scene to show the characters act in the setting. The camera angle of this scene is at eye level. This is intended to make it a reality. in another scene the camera shots in used for a close up shot to deliberately capture Mr Neville’s facial expression. This camera angle is used in this scene to make Mr Neville superior and to make Mr Neville intimidating and inferior to him.

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The Mabo film directed by Rachel Perkins and produced by Darren Dale is about a Torres Strait Islander Eddie Mabo, the movement for indigenous land rights for a ten years battle with high courts to stop the idea of terra nullius and acknowledge the existence for their native land title rights. This movie takes place in Australia in 1981 and is based on a true story that showed white Australian to recognised that aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have rights for their land. The tale of this film to create a sense of, sorrow, courage, determination and bravery to challenge the audience to feel a sense of optimism through the journey of Eddie Mabo. case. This is to establish the recognition of Australian and Torres Strait Islander people of their rights and to acknowledge their unique connection with their land. On the 20th of May 1982, Mabo monitored a claim for his land and started a legal proceeding and said ‘’ My name is Edward Mabo, but my island name is Koiki. My family has occupied the land here for hundreds of years before Captain Cook was born. They are now trying to say I cannot own it. The present Queensland Government is a friendly enemy of the black people as they like to give you the bible and take away your land. We should stop calling them boss. We must be proud to live in our own palm leaf houses like our fathers before us.’’ A Juxtaposition shows news clips signifies the state and federal political leaders and their sights of which it fuels the dramatic tension. And also the opinions of both Eddie and Netta imitate the opposing attitudes of Indigenous Australians towards their fight for righteousness. Whilst Netta trusts that position them with an disadvantage but, Eddie believes that “we have no option but to be troublemakers”. This shows his strength and pride.

Social and historical context: As a human rights activist, Eddie challenges the paternalistic and covert racist attitudes towards aborigines that are evident in various colour segregation policies. The republican’s refusal to give Eddie a drink and the knob on the cinema door become emblematic of these unofficial policies that discriminate against the Indigenous population based on their ethnicity. The camera zooms in on Killoran’s smirk as he reminds Eddie of the state’s obligations. Perkins critiques this attitude throughout the film and shows how it reflects a paternalistic view that the First Australians need to be “helped” by those in a position of power. According to the director, it also perpetuates a racist view towards Aboriginal Australians which is evident in the unofficial colour segregation rules and casual racism that apply in daily life.

Our Generation is a 2010 film, directed by Sinem Saban is about the battle of Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory to retain their land, culture and freedom. This is featured on a remote community in Yolngu, one of the last and strongest aboriginal cultures in Australia, and also includes the voices of historians and human rights activists, national indigenous leaders, the film shows the continuing clash of tradition and culture and being threatened and wiped out of the oldest living culture in the world. The tale is to create a sentiment of sorrow, agony and pain to challenge the audience with the suffering and heartbreak of Yolngu people. This is to create a story that has been silenced by the government and mainstream media where their family were dispossessed from their ancestral lands and deprived of their resources for survival and their cultures and languages are being threatened with extinction.

In conclusion the deliberate depiction of indigenous people in the film and documentary positioned them as resilient, brave and courage’s which indicates the value and belief for indigenous people. All of the films specified the relationships with the land, family bonds, courage, determination and faith. Through the films, indigenous people faced systematic discrimination and exclusion from political power, their culture and law have been raped and half of their language is being lost and this is deliberately shown from the film makers.


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