Two weeks ago, we participated in a documentary UNDERMINED: TALES FROM THE KIMBERLEY showcase at the Melbourne International Film Festival. This is my first contact with the film festival after the 2017 Beijing International Film Festival. Before the film began, the director and the writer explained their ideas about the film, followed by live performances by the actors in the film. After singing the songs in the movie, the movie began. The film is a documentary about how the indigenous people of KIMBERLEY fought with the state government to preserve their resources and the environmental protection of their homes. In the face of fierce foreign capital, the indigenous people have always adhered to their beliefs, to protect resources as the first goal. This kind of movie is the first time I met at film festivals.
In the past, Films that I could reach and wanted to see at the festival were mostly art films. Such films have a certain story, but compared with commercial films and ordinary documentaries, the stories of art films are more profound, and some stories are not even happening under the guidance of the mainstream values. At the same time, in the use of the lens, the use of art film lens more obscure, the emotions are “hidden” in the implicit lens. If the mainstream art film at the festival is a long-lasting cup of coffee, then UNDERMINED: TALES FROM THE KIMBERLEY is a cool mint tea, can make people sober quickly.
The language of this documentary film is straightforward and simple. It objectively documented how the indigenous people of KIMBERLEY saw the government allowing foreign investment to enter the region for resource extraction. At the same time, in the natural environment shooting, this movie also strives for objectivity. Like the rough aborigines, the film is also filthy and wild. The technique of this kind of shooting makes me feel very strange. I’ve seen the rest of the Melbourne Film Festival movies, including traditional art films like Burning, Big Fish, and movies about aborigines, but only this one calls for conservation through aborigines.
However, thinking about the property of the Melbourne International Film Festival, we can also understand why the film was exhibited and received attention. Melbourne International Film Festival is a relatively “young” Film Festival which attracts great attention from Australian locals. Aboriginal themes are an indispensable element in choosing films to cater to the interests of Australian residents. Australia as a big immigrant country, Melbourne as Australia’s most cultural city, foreign culture makes the city and the country more diversified, but the aboriginal culture is the root of the whole diversity. The promotion of KIMBERLEY’s aboriginal culture at the Melbourne International Film Festival is a way to arouse the feelings of Australians towards the whole Aboriginal culture. At the same time, in the protection of environmental resources, Aborigines have begun to demonstrate the damage to the environment caused by the over-exploitation of natural resources in recent years, and this objective statement by credible people can be more convincing. It is more convincing for the audience to pay attention to the protection of the environment. It is gratifying to see this film at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Although I am not a citizen of Australia, I am still shocked by this primitive feeling. And in the future work, we can learn from this experience and pick out the movie that people are in need of.