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Reviews
RABBIT PROOF FENCE: Reviewed by Sam North

Rabbit Proof Fence
Directed by PHILLIP NOYCE
Screenplay by CHRISTINE OLSEN
Produced by PHILLIP NOYCE CHRISTINE OLSEN Director of Photography CHRISTOPHER DOYLE H.K.S.C
Production Designer Costume
Designer ROGER FORD
Edited by JOHN SCOTT VERONIKA JENET
Music by PETER GABRIEL

Book: DORIS PILKINGTON& GARIMARA
CAST
EVERYLYN SAMPI
TIANNA SANSBURY
LAURA MONAGHAN
DAVID GULPILIL NINGALI
LAWFORD MYARN LAWFORD
DEBORAH MAILMAN
JASON CLARKE
KENNETH BRANAGH
NATASHA WANGANEEN
GARRY McDONALD
ROY BILLING
LORNA LESLIE
CELINE O'LEARY
KATE ROBERTS
TRACY MONAGHAN
TAMARA FLANAGAN
DAVID NGOOMBUJARRA
The 19th and 20th Century is full of crimes against humanity. Racial discrimination and racial engineering are a well documented fact and source of shame in South Africa. In the USA the native population was decimated by greed, hatred and a deliberate misunderstanding of the rights and needs of the American Indian. The ‘white’ man and his ‘God’ created havoc, pain and misery all across South America, North Africa, and the Caribbean. You can’t turn around without seeing the effects of slavery and then apartheid (in whatever name it was called in other places). Somehow, Australia has escaped most of the appropriation for its treatment of the aboriginal peoples over the centuries.
Rabbit Proof Fence ably and poignantly directed by Philip Noyce tackles one particular nasty element of the administration of that country’s native people. Successive Australian Governments, from the late twenties, all the way up to the 1970’s, followed a program of taking so called ‘half-caste’ children from their mothers and placing them in a ‘camp’ where they were trained to be servants and good ‘Christians’.

This systematic destruction of ‘family values’ of aboriginal people made them despair, self-destruct and reinforced in the eyes of the white man that native people weren’t a culture worth respecting.

Molly carries Daisy across the desert
The same methods were used in South Africa, but there whole families were uprooted and shipped out to ‘homelands’ or remote townships where there was no work and poor farming land. The impoverishment of the black and brown people of South Africa was alarmingly depressing and self-fulfilling. It’s no use hiding behind history. The Nazis were just an extreme example of the same thing. Intolerance, injustice, Christian values, racial hatred made these things happen and the consequences of these events still reverberate and destroy futures.
Rabbit Proof Fence is not a scientific film; it is not a political film. It’s not a thriller or dealing with an untold secret holocaust – what it is, is a testimony to the human spirit, to courage and fortitude. It displays a righteous hatred for this system that dehumanised native peoples. Set in 1931 Australia,
It tells the true tale of Molly, Gracie and little Daisy who were abducted by the government against their will and taken to Moors Farm 1500 miles from their home. Here they would be trained to be ‘willing slaves’ house maids and shop workers. (The lighter skinned ones would be taken elsewhere to be ‘educated’.

The eldest child Molly,
beautifully played by Everylyn Sampi utterly rejected this life and first chance she got, she took her fellow abductees Gracie and Daisy, so tiny she couldn’t possibly last and they set out to find the Rabbit Proof Fence that would take them home. All 1500 miles.

This is a remarkable journey, you can’t help but feel for their courage and will and when you discover that poor Molly did this twice! You just weep for her and a society that could be so cruel.
Kenneth Branagh as the Administrator is cold, calculating, and filled with almost religious zeal for his job and the keeper of ‘racial purity’. The rest are just following ‘orders’.

Molly and the two other children Gracie and Daisy break your heart with their simple desire to find their way home against all odds and there is not necessarily a happy ending.

See Rabbit Proof Fence – it’s a real film about real issues. It's a lesson as well as a damn good drama that just happens to be true.

© Sam North December 2002
see Diamonds the Rush of '72 by Sam North

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© Hackwriters 2002 all rights reserved
see Diamonds the Rush of '72 by Sam North