I usually restrict my blogging about movies to little notices in the feed on my right-hand column, but I’m making an exception for Bran Nue Dae because every review I’ve read has been tepid to ice-cold.
I want to shout from the rooftops: BRAN NUE DAE is FABULOUS.
It’s not a ‘well-made film’ – though it’s very well made. It’s funny, occasionally soppy, often sly and certainly capable of making a middle class white viewer like me interestingly uncomfortable. I mean, what is this movie doing when it has me wanting to sing along with:
There’s nothing I would rather be
than to be an Aborigine
and watch you take my precious land awa-ay.
For nothing gives me greater joy
than to watch you fill each girl and boy
with superficial existential shit.
It’s like David Gumpilil in his one man stage show tricking us into laughing at his humiliating arrest for public urination. The politics are clear, the dire consequences of dispossession are never denied, but we’re not being lectured at. We’re invited in, discomfort and all.
Mind you, I don’t know how it got its PG rating: in the first few minutes there’s a song about condom use that has very explicit lyrics, and Deborah Mailman’s, um, sexually active character is a pretty adult concept, I would have thought.
All the performances are terrific. I loved the choreography (and choreographer David Page’s brief appearance on a group shot at the end). I loved the look of it. I laughed out loud many times. Rachel Perkins has pulled it off.