Monday, March 22, 2010

We of the Never Never

Igor Auzins, 1982, Australia (9.0*)

A beautifully filmed true story of the first woman in the Northern Territory of Australia, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Gunn, played with independent spunk by Angela Punch McGregor. An educated urbanite from Melbourne married Aeneas Gunn (Arthur Dignam), who managed a remote cattle station, or ranch, in the northern outback, known as "the never never". While there she faces both anti-female and anti-aborigine bigotry from the all male cowboy population. In spite of this, she grows to love both the rugged wilderness, which is green in this region due to the rainy season, and also the local inhabitants who live the same primitive lifestyle they have for millenia, and who are slow to adapt to more 'civilized' conventions.

This will remind Americans of our classic westerns, just sans gunfights, and substituting more friendly indigenous people who work for and help the white immigrants survive in a harsh land. This is a must-see for fans of classic Australian cinema, and makes the perfect complement to the film My Brilliant Career, from director Gillian Armstrong, about another strong-willed Aussie woman, but one who prized her career more than any man. This film followed that one by just three years, and displays a respectable homage to people with courage and heart

Note: nominated for six Australian Film Institute awards, including picture, actress, screenplay, and music, it only won one for cinematography, which is well-deserved as the film is beautiful to watch with innovative camera movement.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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