This has been on ABC TV several times but each time I missed it – until last night. Loved it.
Review by David Stratton
And now to end on something uplifting – it is the festive season after all! So that brings us to BRAN NUE DAE…
Willie, ROCKY MACKENZIE, who lives in Broome, loves beautiful Rosie, JESSICA MAUBOY, but can’t bring himself to approach her. Willie’s mother sends him off to a boarding school in Perth run by strict Father Benedictus, GEOFFREY RUSH – but Willie runs away and heads for home accompanied by his uncle, ERNIE DINGO.
Rachel Perkins’ exuberant adaptation of the 1990 stage musical is a lot of fun, despite the fact that it has a rather insipid hero. The energetic staging of the musical numbers is just one of the engaging elements in a film filled with unexpected delights, such as the performances of MISSY HIGGINS and DEBORAH MAILMAN, who are both excellent.
GEOFFREY RUSH is very funny indeed, the pacing is brisk and it all looks terrific.
BRAN NUE DAY represents a really enjoyable visit to the movies this summer…
DAVID: I loved the musical numbers.
MARGARET: It takes a lot to make a musical these days.
MARGARET: And I think Rachael Perkins has done a fabulous job.
DAVID: I think so too. Yes, I agree.
MARGARET: I’m giving this four stars.
DAVID: Yes, me too, four stars.
It is worth reading the comments on The Movie Show site. One person found the movie racist! I am sure Jimmy Chi, Rachael Perkins et al would be quite surprised. There are people with no sense of humour out there, of course. Not that Bran Nue Dae is all laughs, as my YouTube selection shows. And sometimes the satire cuts several ways:
One of the famous verses from a song in the musical sums up Chi’s dry humour and sharp political approach:
There’s nothing I would rather be
Than to be an Aborigine
and watch you take my precious land away.
For nothing gives me greater joy
than to watch you fill each girl and boy
with superficial existential shit.
See also Bran Nue Dae.
1. Following the success of Bran Nue Dae, Rachel Perkins and Blackfella Films have gone on to make some really splendid movies and documentaries and, of course, the series Redfern Now. Meanwhile, many of the people in Bran Nue Dae may also be seen in 2012’s very successful The Sapphires, directed by Wayne Blair. Indigenous stories and voices really are being seen and heard! I notice however that too many TV Guides, including The Australian Review for 22 December, still hide the existence of NITV!
2. Cinematography on Bran Nue Day was by Andrew Lesnie – brilliant.
His work began receiving major attention after the release of the anthropomorphic pig story Babe (1995) and its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City. He was director of photography on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and received an Oscar for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002. Since then, he has filmed several other Jackson-directed films, including King Kong and The Lovely Bones, and will also film the upcoming The Hobbit films directed by Jackson.
Wikipedia needs to update that last line!
Andrew Lesnie’s son Phillip Lesnie is carving out a career in the arts. I did teach him briefly at SBHS. See Rani P Lukita and Phil Lesnie – Sydney artists / Hand to Hand and his site Monster Friendship Society.
Takes my mind back to the beginning of the century, via this quote from the 2000 SBHS Annual Report. There’s a name there that is now well known in Indigenous circles too.
Achievements in the Arts
The school has a very strong emphasis on co-curricular activities, particularly musical and choral performance and debating.
• The double in debating – GPS Roat Shield and State Hume Barbour Shield – was achieved. The firsts (Oscar McLaren, Hilbert Chiu, Robbie Moore and Mike Martin) were undefeated.
• Eugene Schofield-Georgeson, Jonathan Ailwood, Morgan Green – Art Express finalists.
• Jack Manning-Bancroft and Mihai Sora participated in the English Teachers Conference.
• Michael Nelson, Jason Kok and Thomas Norrie were chosen to play in the NSW Public Schools Symphony Orchestra.
• Robbie Moore’s play ‘Wolves’ was accepted for a reading by a theatre group.
• Phillip Lesnie won the Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘Young Playwrights Award’.
• Peter Hayward, Justin Hill and Thomas Beamish sang at the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games and the Pacific Schools Games.