On August 8, I went to watch the movie ‘Undermined: tales from the Kimberley’ premiere session. It was my first time visiting Forum theatre，and I saw many elder people, which made me feel the strong cultural atmosphere of Melbourne. I was very impressed by this because, in China, there will not be so many elder people to watch movies, which reflects the differences between Chinese and Western cultural consumption.
The Forum Theatre
This premiere session invited film’s director, producer, and local activist/musician Albert Wiggan from Kimberly who brought us a musical performance. His performance is very touching, during his first song ‘Life’, he expressed thankfulness for coming to Melbourne International Film Festival. He thought living in Kimberly, away from the bustling city, nobody would care about aboriginal people but MIFF invited him being here. He said he would bring love and energy back in his country, which can empower his life.
The host, director, producer and activist (from left to right)
The film was directed by the award-winning director, Nicholas Wrathall, who investigate the cost of development in the Kimberly area. The Government’s large-scale mining and pastoral development actions not only do the damage to the primal environment but also more than 200 indigenous communities. The film interviews many local residents about the government’s behavior, and from their conversations, it can be seen that local residents hold out against changes to their land. Life in Kimberly is relatively primitive, people are away from the bustling city and away from modern civilization. Locals can’t understand why the government wants to destroy their natural land in order to provide resources for people living in the city. In their view, they want Kimberly to remain the same forever and not be exploited.
Before the opening of the movie, the host asked us a few questions, why we watch this movie? What brought you here? The answer is value. From my point of view, one of the important function of the film festival is to share the value we have. The film festival is a celebration of filmmakers and audience, and respect for diversity as Melbourne is a multicultural city. So, MIFF is a great opportunity for us to communicate ideas. DeValck’s chapter ‘What is a film festival? How to study festivals and why you should?’ , he wrote that “Festivals possess a unique potential to set agendas and to intervene in the public sphere. They can influence our aesthetic tastes, our political beliefs, and our outlook upon life.” This can reflect on ‘Undermined: tales from the Kimberley’. People who watched this movie would consider contradictions between government and aboriginal people, and even think about people who live in the city do the damage to their home because we consume resources to satisfy our daily needs. The film reflects the problems in real life between government and aboriginal people.
Some movies may not be able to be shown in cinemas because they are not commercialized. The film festival provides a good opportunity for the public to showcase that there are a group of people living in a primitive way and they want to protect their homeland from being changed.
Undermined: tales from the Kimberley, http://miff.com.au/program/film/undermined-tales-from-the-kimberley
DeValck, M 2016, ‘What is a film festival? How to study festivals and why you should?’, pp. 1-11, Film festivals: history, theory, method, practice, Routledge