Best Movies About Aboriginals?

Movies With Aboriginal Themes

One could say that the larger role of the Aborigines in culture and society is one that’s only been recently developed. Up till the 1970s, the scene of indigenous cinema in Australia only saw little progress. Their people were regarded as something akin to fantasy and fiction, not grounded on reality like how we would portray our likeness.

With the golden age of cinematic classics made in the 80s and 90s, people have started to warm up to the ideas and customs of Aborigine culture. To somewhat mend the wrongs done to this “Stolen Generation”, more Aboriginal actors appeared in Australia’s cinemas. Movies from Aboriginal Directors began to pop up in cinemas and now we see a celebration of their customs never seen in days past.

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Classic Movies And Aboriginal Tales

Over the years, Australian Cinema has witnessed a surge of captivating tales created by Aboriginal directors and creatives such as David Gulpilil. Here are a few of our suggestions if you’re looking for films made by Aboriginal creatives:

Walkabout – A Tale Of Two Brothers

Many of our older readers might be able to recall seeing Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout on the big screen during the 70s. This movie told the tale of two siblings fending for their lives within the Australian Outback. During their adventure, they come across an Aboriginal child that becomes their only hope of standing the trials ahead. The movie introduced audiences not only to the idea of Aboriginal-centric movies but also gave David Gulpilil his first role in the film industry.

The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith – How Racial Oppression Affects The Best Of Us

Another classic of the 70s is The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith which tells the story of Jimmie Governor. Once an Aboriginal worker, circumstances such as the racial oppression present in society and the difficulty of accepting western culture caused him to murder the family of his employer. Adapted from the book of the same, it was well regarded by critics and is now a classic of Aboriginal Cinema.

Also see: What do Aboriginals Eat?

Rabbit Proof Fence – An Endearing Tale Of Courage

This 2003 movie details the journey of 3 mixed-race girls as they get forcefully separated from their Aboriginal Mother and sent over to a camp to be made into domestic workers. All this is done in an attempt by the government to integrate the native populations into white society. The camp itself is lined with a rabbit-proof fence that might just be what they need to find their way back home.

Adapted from the book “Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence” authored by Doris Pilkington, this movie is a powerful example of the country’s shameful past. The fence itself still exists today as the State Barrier Fence and functions as a deterrent against invasive species that might attack nearby livestock.

Charlie’s Country – The Contrasting Nature Of Two Cultures

If you’re looking for more modern flicks that depict the Aboriginal culture, there are loads currently coming out the pipeline. In 2013, Charlie’s Country was released to critical acclaim and even won awards at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie itself recounts David Gulpilil’s experiences as he lives in an era where aboriginals are subjugated under laws catered to the white man. Through this contrast and how his people are treated, the main character decides to leave everything and live in the wild.

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The Importance Of Aboriginal Movies

Considering the brutal and regrettable history of how Aboriginals were treated on their ancestral lands, we find ourselves responsible for making sure this never happens again. Cinema is a mass art form that many members of the public can fully appreciate. It becomes a vehicle where cultural and social ideas can be digested and understood easily. With this power, Indigenous creators and Aboriginal Directors can express the problems that plague Australian society today.

Before the rise of Aboriginal actors and directors in cinema, the narrative was usually told from the perspective of the colonizer. Movies that explore Aboriginal culture and lifestyles help in righting this wrong, creating expressive and colorful stories that contain the truth about the Aboriginal people.

The voices of the indigenous people residing in Australia can now be properly heard by the larger population thanks to their efforts in the creative scene. These films can become essential in teaching the public about the diversity that’s inherent to the country and how we can bridge our differences. Stereotyping gets us nowhere, we must all help to reframe the Australian narrative and acknowledge the role that indigenous peoples have played in forming the country.

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Dave P
Dave P
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