I’m looking forward to seeing this film, to study it …

Comment on Sweet Country, a voice demanding to be heard by Alex Nelson.

I’m looking forward to seeing this film, to study it as much as to just watch it. For this reason I will probably see it twice because there’s always too much to take in from a single viewing of a well made film.
I noted with interest Pip McManus’ observation: “The camera rarely moves above eye level, in fact it most often looks upward from ground level and focuses on rich grainy detail of flesh or rock, hand gesture or marks in the sand. Elders Archie and Sam know they are witnessing the desecration of country, the potential loss of sacred knowledge.”
I will be intently watching the landscape, especially the vegetation, to see if and how often buffel grass can be observed.
I anticipate the scenery, as much as the story, will tell us how much we really know of our recent history, of how much has changed and is still in the process of being lost.
Another point worth noting: “While Sweet Country does adhere to many of the tropes of the Hollywood Western genre – wide open spaces contrasting with close shots and dark claustrophobic interiors, silhouetted sunsets and liquor-sodden saloons – there is a determined turning of the tables.”
It’s worth remembering that amongst Aboriginal people across regional Australia for much of last century by far the most popular film genre was the Hollywood Western, of cowboys versus red indians as often as not – exemplified on February 19, 1942, when Tiwi islander Matthias Ulungara seized the pistol of crash-landed Japanese fighter pilot Hajime Toyoshima and reputedly ordered him to “stick ’em up allasame ‘Opalong Cassitty” thereby capturing the first prisoner of war on Australian soil.
A final point to keep in mind is “that signature blackfella humour and playfulness” which is as much alive today as it’s ever been, and is often deployed against the unwitting amongst us. It is used to great effect in the mainstream media, creating impressions that aren’t necessarily accurate.
None of this is to deny or downplay the conflict and confusion that did arise as Europeans encroached upon the territories of indigenous people. Sweet Country seems likely to offer much food for thought.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

The two territories at opposite ends of car sales stats
All the more reason to bring back Canberra control! (Now, where’s the entrance to my bunker?)


Cattle company has win in live export ban case
Perhaps I’m reading more into this decision than is warranted but it occurs to me there is possibly a principle of law here which may have much wider application.
I’m thinking in terms of government policies and decisions that have an influence or impact on climate change without due regard to scientific advice.
Are there wider implications from this decision?
While this case may rest with the decision of the Federal Court if the Commonwealth Government opts not to appeal it, I can foresee a similar case being pursued in the High Court of Australia to resolve what degree of responsibility the Commonwealth (and, for that matter, the NT Government, which is a creature of Federal law) has in regard to abiding by professional, fully researched scientific advice.


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Surprised! (Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:25 am): Too timid to use your own name, and too dumb to get another person’s name right. No credibility in your comment.


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Jack (Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:11 pm): Whatever amount of money “we” decide to “stump up” gives us no right or authority to dictate terms to Indigenous people on how or where their art and culture may be displayed for others.
What they decide might not cost as much as $50m; indeed, it’s the NT Government, not custodians and TOs, that “stumped up” that sum of money so it’s hypocritical to blame the latter.
And, if custodians and TOs decide they don’t want to go down this path at all, then the money becomes a moot point, doesn’t it?


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
Basically, whether from the Labor or Country Liberals, the debate about the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, is all about cultural appropriation of Aboriginal art to suit the ambitions of politicians, bureaucrats and the business sector.
The entire process, subsequent to the steering committee report, has been (and continues to be) completely mishandled arse-about; surely it has to be resolved in the following manner:
1. Do the traditional custodians and owners of this region want or support the concept of a “national” art gallery, either on its own or as part of a cultural centre?
2. If they support this concept, where do they want it to be built?
The answers to these two basic questions would provide the guidance on whether this project is approved or not in the first place, and then (if approved) where it can be built.
It’s their art, their culture, so let’s allow the custodians and TOs to be the primary authority on this matter, and the rest of us to abide by their wishes accordingly.


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