Watching the Undermined: Tales from the Kimberley was my first time visiting the Melbourne International Film Festival and it was a great first time experience. There were some activities being held before the movie that included the speech from the movie’s staff and the song sang by one of the actors as well. Also, there was a Q&A activity after the movie. However, what impressed me most was that the theme and topic of this movie. They are deeply connected with the theme, mission and core value of the MIFF.
The documentary film tells a story about the living conditions of Aboriginal Australians and their confusions toward the politics, culture as well as commercialism. The movie basicly displays a battle between Aboriginal Australians and the government that happens in Australia’s spectacular north-west corner. Kimberley is a place with rich natural resources and it is one of the home of Aboriginal Australians. However, with the development of commercialism and as a result of urbanization, the tension among Aboriginal Australians, the government and big companies grows. While the storiy that happens in Kimberley is just a epitome of the tension. Aboriginal Australian plan to store their culture and maintain their current life to some extends, by contrast, the government are seemingly trying to assimilate them while companies are going to capture resource from lands regardless their living conditions. There are two stories in movie impress me a lot. One of the protagonist who was living in the city and had a life in so-called civil way which he took educations and married a lady who was other race. However, his father’s story inspired him that Aboriginal Australian have their own culture and value. While this culture is being run off to some extend. Therefore, he came back from city and experieced a life of his ancestors. The other scene shows audience some common life of Aboriginal Australians that their kids are sent to public schools to learn English and western culture. While some other secenes show that the crime and drug issues in Aboriginal towns.
The movie tries to discuss the indentity issue about Aboriginal Australians. They are ignored by the mainstream culture in Australian in a long time. Throughout the history, they had a bloody and soorowful relationship with european outsiders. Although the Australian Government had paid for their mistakes and apologized to them in 2008. The Aboriginal Australian are still being ingnored by the society. Losing their culture, history and language and being force to adopt ‘modern’ society, Aboriginal Australians may have some confusion about their identity. However, the western culture do improve their living conditions in terms of social welfare and education. Their medic and education level have been improved after the intervention from modern society. However, I do believe there is a balance between Aboriginal and western culture that Aboriginal Australians can maintain their own culture as well as embrace the mainstram culture of Australia.
Through discussing the film, I find that the connection between films and the MIFF is deep.The vision of the MIFF is “Build an enlightened, engaged society through film”. While their core value is “Independence, High Performance, Inspiration, Creativity, Integrity, Good Governance”.
Undermined: Tales from the Kimberley is a perfect film that fits the theme. It illustrates some ignored issues in the society through an independent angle and try to discuss these issues as a method to solve it. Also, the quality of the film is high.