Rabbit-Proof Fence

Rabbit-Proof Fence tells a story from the time Australia had an official white supremacy program, which lasted for over 100 years until 1970. Australia’s aboriginal integration program of the 1930s took young aborigines from their families and placed in an abusive orphanage. Three girls resolve to make the 1,500-mile trek home, without food or water. Meanwhile, a well-intentioned tracker is trying to find the girls to return to the authorities. This story is true, and two of the girls (now old women) actually appear in the movie. Absolutely riveting story containing a mixture of the pervasiveness of toxic racism, kindness of strangers (often white), gutsiness and determination of the young girls who just want to go home. An astounding film about the horrible racist policies in Australia and three little Aborigine girls who try to defy them. The purpose of the cruel separation of these mixed-raced children from their families was supposedly to “train and civilize” them for a “better life” as servants (slaves) to white families. The program was designed to train them as a servant class and eventually marry them to whites in an effort to “breed the blackness out of them.” To do this half-caste children were rounded up forcibly and sent to education camps. The non-professional aborigine actors do a marvelous job — with very little dialogue — expressing the fear these girls must have felt and the spiritual connection to land and family that guided them across the Outback. The photography is beautiful and although the Outback terrain is harsh, you sense that it is not forbidding to these girls who have an almost mystical relationship to their land from their upbringing. These aboriginal children (the “stolen generation”) were yanked from their families until 1970. The force of will to overcome unfair treatment is compelling, particularly when it comes from children. If you want to be reminded of how the “white man” has taken care of his “little brown brother,” this movie is perfect. This is an example of the misunderstanding between cultures, the independence of one and the notion that people should be taken care of by the other. The same ignorance can be seen in USA and Africa. The same issue existed in the United States with the schools for Native Americans. This tells a very sad story of white people coming into other people’s land and changing their culture, language, and brainwashing the children. I never realized this was happening in Australia and am grateful that this movie was made to show people the truth. Racism appears to be a human trait, but nowhere more so than those with whites of former Western European heritage. I am white and this story made me sick! Excellent movie but horrific when you realize that these racist men were in charge of the lives of these innocent young children. Tragically, the Kenneth Branagh character is not evil. He is a good man trying to do something he believes to be good. But his role as bureaucrat schemer is in the background. The focus is always on the sweet-faced, almost-silent girls and they do a lovely job throughout. The misguided philosophy at that time was a continuation of the pattern of arrogance of white colonialism, and what they felt was the only right thing to do. It shouldn’t be viewed as a good guy, bad guy film because there were no winners. Instead it should be viewed more from a historical perspective, and as a docudrama. As with much of world history, this is yet another example of human mistreatment that defies belief. A moving portrait of the pain and fear of families and their children who were removed from the nurturing environment they were born into, and the Australian government’s effort to wipe out their cultural identity. Just finished this movie and I can’t stop crying – tears of happiness for sure. I found myself speaking out loud to the screen, words of encouragement to the girls as they lay exhausted on the desert floor. What a beautiful movie. The girls are so amazing in their roles. Many reviewers are shocked to learn that such inhumane treatment of the Aborigine people lasted into the 70’s. However, the injustices of the Apartheid system lasted into the 90’s! We should all watch movies like this, not to label one people as racists or bigots, but to appreciate the more basic commonalities in all people – love and the strength of people to overcome great adversity. A serious film that may be a bit too slow paced for some movie viewers, but the intricate and deep story is engaging and will keep most of you focused on the film. This film, by its description, seems very heavy and disturbing, but it is more touching and inspiring. It was really astounding and uplifting. This is a stunning story. The photography is top rate and the acting by the children is amazing. Kids and parents will love it, and since based on a true story will help kids understand. More kids need to see this to be thankful for what they have. I enjoyed learning about the Australian Aborigine environment, history and struggles they faced. This is a true story, based on the book Along the Rabbit Proof Fence. The fact it is a true story elevates this quest narrative. This movie is well worth seeing and beautifully photographed. This is a beautiful film that should not be missed. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is one of those films we will remember. I would recommend this movie to anyone. I had seen this before and it was just as powerful the second time. Terrific film. Docudrama 2002 PG 93 minutes.

SEE ALSO:

Ishi, The Last Yahi

Dances with Wolves

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

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