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

Former Anzac Hill High School: time to take stock
@ Evelyne Roullet (Posted October 18, 2019 at 2:58 pm): I wish you good luck, Evelyne, but this town and the Territory is not what it once was, and there are very few who have the courage to stand up for their principles and convictions.
Most of us wait for someone else to do it all.


The good and the bad of spending money we don’t have
Ah yes, that lovely deep underground car park for public servants next to the NT Legislative Assembly, on which I henceforth bestow the title of “Labor’s long-drop”.
All that’s required to top off this most worthy project is a ceiling and very large fan.


Thieves ram cars out of compound
This is the same building the NT Government has vacated as its former departmental offices but (I am informed) continues to pay rent for the empty space.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of Gregory Terrace and a short distance up is the public “asset” of the former Visitors Information Centre that has been abandoned, trashed and boarded up.
It’s all symptomatic of something seriously wrong with a Labor Government that three short years ago was elected overwhelmingly on the promise of being more honest and accountable.
The whole situation stinks to high hell.


Lame duck MLA, says Katherine voter
Bruce, you are a member of a vanishingly small vanguard of defenders of democracy. Keep up the good fight, you’re the rare sort of person that makes a genuinely positive difference.
We deserve a far better standard of representative government across the board but only if there is enough of us willing to take a stand.


Pine Gap: The link Alice has to Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds
I cannot help wondering if history is turning full circle – certainly too many of us in the West seem to be forgetful of the fundamental principles that are foundational to democratic societies.
As far as the United States is concerned, the preamble of The Declaration of Independence (probably the most influential document in history) is well worth contemplating: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
These words drafted by Thomas Jefferson nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago seem to resonate powerfully for our times.


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