Pass the tissues

culture

I've just got back from watching "Rabbit Proof Fence". I'm notoriously lachrymose in films (Mr. Butshesagirl thought I was having some kind of nervous breakdown in "Billy Elliot"), but it isn't often that I'm in tears within the first ten minutes.

Rabbit Proof Fence is the utterly harrowing true story of three aboriginal girls who were taken from their family and forced to stay in a camp, miles from their home. This was a deliberate policy to "breed the black" out of "half-caste" aboriginal children, enforced by the ironically-titled Chief Protector of Aborigines (otherwise known by the children in the camps as Mr. Devil, with ample justification). The girls escape and start to walk the 1200 miles back home, pursued by Moodoo, an aboriginal tracker trying to keep his job at the camp so that he can at least look longingly at his daughter, if not actually speak to her. Mr. Devil evidently thought that he was doing the right thing, though how anyone could ever think that taking children from their families could possibly be right is beyond me. Incredibly, this practice continued until 1970. Just another reason to be extremely suspicious of anyone who claims, "It's for their own good - they'll thank me later for it".

I won't spoil it for anyone else going to see the film, but be warned that the text after the film which catches us up with what happened to Molly, Daisy and Gracie after the events depicted in the film (there must be a technical term for that), is even more of an emotional rollercoaster than the rest of the film. You'll be smiling one minute and crying again the next.

The terrible thing is that there's no way to give back these people - who had everything stolen from them, family, culture, homelands - back even a part of what was taken. At least this film might make their story more widely known.

comments powered by Disqus