I saw my 91st and in all likelihood, final movie of 2002 last night: Rabbit-Proof Fence. Let there be no doubt that movies can still be simple yet overwhelming in their power, originality, and inspiration. This movie tells the story of three sisters, taken from their aboriginal home in 1931 in Western Australia by the government. Considered “half caste” because they have white fathers, they are taken to a camp with other half caste children, and taught the ways of the white man, with the ultimate goal being that the children grow up to marry white men and women, and eventually breed out their aboriginal past. Molly Craig, 14 years old, decides to take her younger sisters and escape from the camp, and walk 1,600 kilometers back to Jigalong, to their mother. It is a true story.
The film conveys how strong the ties of love and family can be – at a time when the world continues to spawn wars and terrorism, I found the movie to be life-affirming in the deepest way possible. Such a simple movie – three girls walking home, and yet such a powerful story. I was pleased to see David Gulpilil, whom you might remember from the groundbreaking Australian film Walkabout, in the role as the tracker, Moodoo. The movie also features a stirring score by Peter Gabriel and stunning cinematography by Christopher Doyle. A fascinating study guide is available, from the Australian movie magazine called Metro Magazine. As well, read this interview of Noyce and commentary on the film by a Canadian aboriginal, Carmen Daniels, currently living in Australia and contributor to the Aboriginal Youth Network.
This is a picture of director Phillip Noyce with the three actors who portrayed the girls in the movie: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, and Laura Monaghan.
I will compile the list of my 10 favorite movies of 2002 soon. It is never a “best” list, because I don’t see everything.
Today, Dec 31, my mom turns 70. Happy Birthday, Mom!!! I love you lots.