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During the most part of the early to mid 20th century, Australia's government policy was that mixed race Aboriginal children would be better off being brought up as white and so forcefully removed them from their homes to be trained as domestic servants. This film follows the true story of 3 such children; cousins Molly, Gracie and Daisy, who in 1931 found themselves being taken from their parents, sent to an institution and forced to forget their family and culture. However, Molly leads her 2 cousins in a daring escape across 1,500 miles of outback with no water and only the fence erected across the country to stop the epidemic of rabbits as a guide. Kenneth Branagh plays the government official charged with the return of the girls and the story is based on the book by Doris Pilkington, the neice of Daisy.
Based on a true story, Rabbit-proof Fence moves with dignified grace from its joyful opening scenes to a conclusion that's moving beyond words. The title refers to a 1,500-mile fence separating outback desert from the farmlands of Western Australia. It's here, in 1931, that three aboriginal girls are separated from their mothers and transported to a distant training school, where they are prepared for assimilation into white society by a racist government policy. Gracie, Daisy, and Molly belong to Australia's "stolen generations", and this riveting film (based on the book by Molly's daughter, Doris Pilkington Garimara) follows their escape and tenacious journey homeward, while a stubborn policy enforcer (Kenneth Branagh) demands their recapture.
Director Phillip Noyce chronicles their ordeal with gentle compassion, guiding his untrained, aboriginal child actors with a keen eye for meaningful expressions. Their performances evoke powerful emotions (subtly enhanced by Peter Gabriel's excellent score), illuminating a shameful chapter of Australian history while conveying our universal need for a true and proper home. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Noyce beautifully captures the harsh environment traversed by the trio, even though the filming was far distant from the actual location. The girls must use every available cover and device to escape capture, and Noyce maintains the tension throughout the film. Using numerous close-ups to convey feeling, you're kept aware that flight from captivity isn't a social event. Encounters with either white or fellow Aborigines force reserve, suspicion and hesitation - talk is minimised, even among the three escapees. This is a highly visual film in a setting providing oppotunities for lush images.
It is the people, however, that give this film its true grandeur. Clearly, the fleeing girls aren't professionals before the camera. Everlyn Sampi's facial expressions seize the soul in nearly every scene. She's aware of the burden she's carrying, leading the escape, keeping them free, thwarting detection and pursuit, finding the track. David Gulpilil, the Aborigine tracker, also rivets the eye as he leads the quest to return the girls to the mission. How does he feel in pursuit of his own kind in the employ of the dominant, racist, white society? Kenneth Branagh might have absorbed the soul of A.O. Neville so graphically does he portray the "Protector of Aborigines".Read more ›
This story of Australia's misguided attempt to help the aborigines "in spite of themselves" has an excellent script and direction. The children, all non-actors, are wonderfully convincing and sympathetic. Kenneth Branagh has a small role as the government official who tries to recapture the girls. David Gulpilil plays the aboriginal tracker who relentlessly follows the girls, and his villainous character was truly frightening. The sweeping photography of the arid bush shows just how tremendous the girls' accomplishment was. Rabbit-Proof Fence is a very sad but important story and I heartily recommend it.
If you want to be inspired, your eyes opened and your life that little bit enriched with history get this film. If you are a viewer that is moved by powerful actions and emotions, see this film and you will be glad you bought it.
It's a very simple, linear tale. It's gorgeously photographed and the soundtrack (both Peter Gabriel's music and the 5.1 surround mix) is very involving. The narrative isn't really important - the story does little more than document, episodically, a long journey home across a desert. But this provides a terrific figurative platform; the fence represents not a barrier but a lifeline, a map, a way home and in one exquisite moment, a heartstring: a shot of the girls first grabbing the wire is artfully spliced next to a view of their mother, 800 miles away, holding the same wire, pining for her daughters.
Nice editing, that man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really brill, good story. recd in very good condition & very quick> tommoPublished 1 month ago by Tommo
I love this film and no doubt will watch it again and again. The extra bits on the making of it were very interesting too; especially as it is based on a true story.Published 1 month ago by Rosie
I heard about this film on a recent visit to Australia, it is a must see as it highlights the misguided practice of the settlers against the indigenous people and is wonderfully... Read morePublished 3 months ago by lynne johnson