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Rabbit Proof Fence - please comment below

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago

 

Film Review: Rabbit Proof Fence
 

Film Info

 

2002
94 minutes
color

 
This is the true story of Molly Craig, a young black Australian girl who leads her younger sister and cousin in an escape from an official government camp, set up as part of an official government policy to train them as domestic workers and integrate them into white society. With grit and determination Molly guides the girls on an epic journey, one step ahead of the authorities, over 1,500 miles of Australia's outback in search of the rabbit-proof fence that bisects the continent and will lead them home. These three girls are part of what is referred to today as the 'Stolen Generations.'
 
Western Australia, 1931. Government policy includes taking half-caste children from their Aboriginal mothers and sending them a thousand miles away to what amounts to indentured servitude, "to save them from themselves." Molly, Daisy, and Grace (two sisters and a cousin who are 14, 10, and 8) arrive at their Gulag and promptly escape, under Molly's lead. For days they walk north, following a fence that keeps rabbits from settlements, including a native tracker and the regional constabulary. Their pursuers take orders from the government's "chief protector of Aborigines," A.O. Neville, blinded by Anglo-Christian certainty and conventional wisdom.
 
 
Following the film, we will have a discussion on the following topics:
 
Government policy and indigenous populations
Childhood
Social and cultural transformation
Tradition
This film as a reflection of broader cultural phenomena
 
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THESE TOPICS AS YOU VIEW THE FILM

Begin your postings here . . .
[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 11-29-07]
Rabbit Proof Fence
-This was a really powerful movie--I had heard about it, but I was crying about ten minutes in. One thing I thought was really interesting/sick was the idea of looking for the ones who were fairer than others--and thus more "clever" and separated to be even more assimilated into society. They looked at their backs; I have no idea what they were looking for but I imagine they thought of some "scientific" way to tell which ones were "more white", but it seems completely arbitrary.
-END-

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 11-29]

 

I'm surprised I'd never heard of this movie, seeing as how it probably was widely released in certain markets. Kenneth Branaugh's performance as AO "Devil" Neville was good if somewhat one-sided... his monologue about the assimilation of half castes into a white bloodline was blatantly racist and telling of his character though.. the most effecting scene was by far the one in which the girls were initially taken from their mother and relatives. The women's frantic howling after the girls' departure was thoroughly disturbing. The character of the tracker was kind of cool but I wish he were more developed. Instead of a silent phantom tracking th girls I wish he was given a chance to more fully express the internal conflict he was no doubt feeling about helping the white men contain his people.

 

END

 

[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 11/30]

 

This was a really great and powerful movie. It really showed what was happening to the aboriginese people and gave insight not only into the lives of the children who were taken away, but also into the lives of the white people and their opinions on the subject. Over time, Americans have continuously believed themselves to be the superior country and whites the superior race with the "duty" to help others become "civilized". It was really sad to see them force children away from their mothers simply because they wanted to stop the black race from reproducing with other blacks. The quote that really stood out to me though was that although they were "uncivilized people" did not mean they had "uncivilized minds". It was interesting that it was the White male responsible for the forced assimilation that was saying this.

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 12/2/07]

 

Rabbit Proof Fence is a great movie that shows how half-castes were oppressed and stepped on. The program’s goal is to “teach” the half-castes how to assimilate into the “white culture” in order to completely erase the “black side” of each half-caste. The interesting thing is that the head of the program really believes what he is doing is bettering the community and country. However, he does not realize that his actions are wrong and will lead to his own demise. The tenacity of the three young girls can be seen as they continue to run away on foot for days and miles just to get back home.

 

END

 

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 12/2/07

Rabbit Proof Fence

Childhood—As I said in class, I was astonished that this was based on a true story. To think that these girls made a journey through the desert for more than a month and covered nearly 1000 miles is simply amazing. I cant imagine doing something of that scale at that age. The amount of help they received from locals must have been great. Also, how they kept the tracker guessing as long as they did was ingenious for girls as young as they were. I suppose they were at an advantage for growing up in the outback though. I’m excited to see how the film ends.

END

 

 

[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 12/2]

 

Rabbit Proof Fence

This movie is incredible! It is sad to see that this sort of thing keeps happening over and over again. Not only did it happen in Australia it also happened here in the United States. Anglo-Christian bias and the belief in the inferiority of the whites is very evident in this movie and is extremely aggravating to believe that people actually thought people with white or fair skin were smarter than people with dark skin. It’s just another way for one group to hold power over another. The Aborigines are not unintelligent. The reason they did not know how to read or write our language or have the same technology is because it is not their culture or immediate needs. Furthermore, the Aborigines may have seemed childlike in their intelligence but again that was because of their ignorance of the ways of the outsiders, assuming that the new people would act as other Aborigines do. Unfortunately for them, that allowed the colonists to take advantage of them. -END-

 

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 12/5]

 

Rabbit Proof Fence

 

This was one of the best movies we have watched in class. It talked a lot about racism and prejudices and it shows how most of the cultures carry similar biases towards people with different colored skin. I couldn’t believe how much the 3 girls loved their homes and walked miles to get back.

 

[lanh nguyen-ltn2@geneseo.edu-12/5]

Rabbit Proof Fence

It was amazing to see how the unity and leadership of just a few is able to make such a huge impact and difference on society as a whole. Similar to what we have discussed in class during the power point presentations, it only takes one voice and one individual to make a significant difference elsewhere. Milloy's success in leaving the government camp with her sisters illustrated to other Aborigines that change can happen; there needs to be unity and strength. I thought that the scene where Molly's mother and grandmother withstood the government official in the woods was a VERY powerful one. It illustrated that by standing tall and withstanding one's grounds, one will be able to overpower any obsticles.

END

 

Charlie Genao cg7@geneseo.edu

 

I just gotta say that so far this is the most powerful movie so far. I cant believe that these girls walked 800 miles to get home and the enviroment was not cooperating to say the least, and addition the movie was based on a real story which really brung it home. Although I felt bad when one of the girls got caught and sent back to the camp. I also liked how the indian who was sent to capture them actually stalled the operation and help Milloy escape. The Racism and the idea that they honestly thought they were helping them was shocking. You would think that by them seeing the mothers cry for thier children would give them a hint that maybe they are not actually helping but hurting them. I cant believe they were so blinded.

 

 

 

[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 12/08]

 

Rabbit Proof Fence: Film Review

This was indeed one powerful movie. I honestly never knew that such events ever occurred in Australia where the half aborigine children were taken away from their families and rather placed in camps. When I heard that such events took place my mind rather quickly connected it to what the Native Americans had been through. I felt there was a good connection between this movie and the film one we watched earlier in this semester entitled “Navaho Boy Returned.” In addition, I was also impressed by the three girls’ determination to get home. There were scenes in the movie where I was like ooo they will be caught but at the end they were surprising home, despite the fact that one of the girls was caught. I am sure if I was one of those girls I would have been too afraid to do anything and just given up; now I wish I had their determination.

Another thing I would like to note about is how the camp’s officials wanted to keep the escape of the girls out from the public and media’s eyes. I was thinking to myself why they are not making it public because maybe if the story is made public then more people would get involved in capturing and returning the girls back to the camps. But Professor Kintz raised a good point when she said that maybe they did not want to make it public because they rather maybe felt humiliated that three young girls were able to run off and were unable to be captured in time. Last thing to note was how I felt about some of the aborigine people in the movie such as the tracker and the lady who was willing to help the 3 girls out but the man saw them and contacted the authority instead. as for the tractor, there were many times when I felt he was rather allowing the girls to escape but yet at the same time was doing his job and as for that aborigine maid, I honestly felt she was not really helping the girls out because she kept saying oo stay he will not tell anyone about you being here after they had been seen by the white man. Anyways, in all this was a great movie thanks for showing it to us… -END-

 

(Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 12/12}

 

This film provided a powerful reflection on the destruction of aboriginal culture in Australia. I couldn't help notice the parallels to Indian policy within the United States. I think we often see or hear about monstrosities occuring around the world, but forget that the sames thing have happened, or continue to happen, in our own backyards. My Native American History class has helped open my eyes to racial struggles I had assumed were abolished during the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, American Indian children were also forced from their homes and stolen from their parents to attend boarding schools. These schools poor conditions resulted in numerous deaths, due to poor health, run-away attempts, and suicide. The children were physically reprimanded if they spoke their native language or displayed any connection to their heritage. Sadly, most people truly believed that this was the way to solve the "Indian Problem" of extinction: by assimilating the younger generations with vocational training, perhaps they could salvage the "race" while discarding their "primitive" culture. Similarly, the head of Aboriginal Affairs feels that he is helping give these children at chance at a "real" and "civilized" life. Examining cultural issues around the world, we must not forget that the United States has been equally unjust. If we recognize injustice around the world, we cannot sit outraged and do nothing. We must look with an introspective eye at our own culture and do what we can to improve detrimental governmental policies.

~END.

 

 

[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/07]

Rabbit Proof Fence

Politics: It was shocking to learn about the “Lost Generation” of Aborigines who had been so poorly treated by the Australian government. It is good to put a face, or rather the faces of all three girls, to a story. I still find it difficult to understand how the Australian government thought that it was acceptable to treat “half-caste” children in such a demeaning way. This story also brings to light other matters of how reparations are very difficult to find for those mistreated by the government, not only in Australia, but also for Native Americans and other races who have been mistreated in the United States and around the world.

END.

 

[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 12/14/07]

Rabbit Proof Fence

 

 

Change-Resistance to Change: These girls are an excellent example of the will to keep a culture from dying away. The girls were admittedly comfortable in the Aussie Camp, but that did not change the fact that they needed to leave, especially through the convincing by the oldest. They were willing to walk an endless amount to maintain their culture because they would be losing a major part of themselves without it.

I recently watched the Planet Earth: Desert episode (Watch them…they’re all amazing) and they mentioned how some elephants would travel for uncharted distances in search of water and sustenance, walking for up to 50 miles a day. This number stuck with me because I just couldn’t believe how far these girls walked to be rejoined with their family and their culture. I see them both an ultimate testaments to the will of survival. The elephants were walking because they knew that they would die if they just accepted where they were. These girls had a much more human version of this, they weren’t directly threatened by lack of food or water in their trek, instead they were threatened by the destruction and loss of their culture. Without their culture they would have nothing and would feel dead in the world. The trek was in their minds the only choice, it was beyond water or sustenance that was in the camp it was the hunger and thirst for their culture that kept them going.

END

 

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

Film Review: Rabbit Proof Fence

 

Government Policy and indigenous populations: The families of countless indigenous Australian families were destroyed as a result of the European goal “incorporating half-caste” children into their society. The white man in charge of the whole operation explained how black Australians could produce white children after a few generations, which for some reason was seen as beneficial. The result of the kidnapping of these children was cultural and social disruption. As was the case for many of the “Stolen Generation,” one of the young women Molly, her sister and cousin met was taken advantage of sexually by their “employer.” Many of these children never found their families or never felt like they belonged if they did go home. There are apparent parallels between these children and African slaves and Native Americans.

As Jennifer says, reparations are difficult to pay for the past actions of the government. In Australia, one needs written documentation to show that they were actually stolen. Only one person, so far, has received reparations for his kidnapping from over fifty-years ago.

-END-

 

 

[Jennifer Mahoney, jrm30@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

Film Review: Rabbit Proof fence

 

This movie was very efficient in displaying the circumstances faced by the Aborigines of Australia. This movie gave insight into the role of kinship among the aborigines, showing the strong bond shared between aborigine parents and their children. The movie was particularly upsetting to watch when remembering the long-term effects of the "stolen generation" which include the breakdown of the once strong parent-child relationship. Those removed from their parents never learned vital parenting skills and are now having trouble bonding and raising with their own children.

 

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

 

Film Review: Rabbit Proof Fence

 

SOCIAL CHANGE: It was interesting how the Australian government targeted half-blood children to carry out ethnic cleansing. The film clearly showed how much easier it was to “convert” the young, who had not been fully socialized into the Aborigine culture yet. Aborigines remaining in the outback retained a strong sense of identity – a strength that the government was trying to “protect” them from by instituting this mandatory social transformation. The “Stolen Generation” challenged the Aborigines’ ability to uphold their traditions, as so many of their youth were essentially brainwashed and sentenced to life as second class citizens to a white society so far removed from them.

END

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 12/15]

Rabbit Proof Fence

Change: It was very interesting to see the perspective that whites had during the time period. The dictation of the letter at the end was one of the most striking messages for me; that white people still didn't understand the Aborigine culture at all yet, and it really lets you know that the struggle only continued after the movie was over. It was just awful to see how disrupted the Aborigines were in every aspect of life. I liked at the end though when the mother and grandmother scared the white guy away.

 

[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 12/15]

Rabbit Proof Fence

I think this film was so powerful because it put a face on the atrocity that as taken place in Australia. It is hard to imagine what impact the assimilation process for the aborigines had to go through had on them when I read about it on paper or hear someone talk about it. It is completely different when a filmmaker uses video to emotionally affect its audience and connects it directly to the film.

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Rabbit Proof Fence

It's amazing how determined these girls were to make it home.  Not only did they make the journey once, which is a great feat with in itself, but they did it twice. For being so young, these girls had to be extremely resouceful and intelligent inorder to survive in the desert for so long. It's amazing that they could make that journey and not get hurt or caught. At the end of the film, when it showed the real girls, it really helped to push the fact that this was a true story.

END

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 12/16)

 

Rabbit Proof Fence

 

- Change: The journey that these girls went through is like nothing I had ever seen. The Australian Aborigines have been , recently, victims of the policies that the government has forced on them. In the end of the film, when the girls finally reach their destination, the struggle that their culture has suffered comes to an extremely personal level. The emotions of the characters in the movie are portrayed perfectly by the film, allowing us to see the sorrow as well as the relief that they feel. The attempt of the government to "assist" the aborigines in adapted to their new surroundings is very unfortunate. It's hard to imagine that these people believe that this greatly unique culture needs or has to change.

 

Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/16

 

This film was very good. I like the scene where we get to see how blind and ignorant colonial ways of thinking really are. White Westerners actually believe that their "help" is needed, that their actions are justified, and their behavior is necessary and for the common good. I have always known this but after seeing the portrayal of that one actor, I started to realize how dreadful this way of thinking really is. Blindness and ignorance is what causes so much pain and suffering. It is terribly unfortunate that people are so ignorant that they fail to see how something unique is both beautiful and important as opposed to primitive. We have to dispel notions of required unity in cultural practices. There can be unity in diversity and it can be achieved by our realization of the variation that is essential and universal to all human groups.

 

 

Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 12/13

 

Rabbit Proof Fence

 

The film Rabbit Proof Fence was in my opinion one of the most moving films that we watched all semester. It showed a lot about how the Australian Aborigines had to protect themselves from the government, even though the government thought that in the long run they were helping the aborigines. It was hard to believe that the government would actually hunt for the “half-castes” and make them go to camps which would in turn make them into indentured servants. This seems to me like they are actually hindering the native culture and traditions which would have been kept in-tact if they were not disturbed by the white government. The film Rabbit Proof Fence was in my opinion one of the most moving films that we watched all semester. It showed a lot about how the Australian Aborigines had to protect themselves from the government, even though the government thought that in the long run they were helping the aborigines. It was hard to believe that the government would actually hunt for the “half-castes” and make them go to camps which would in turn make them into indentured servants. This seems to me like they are actually hindering the native culture and traditions which would have been kept in-tact if they were not disturbed by the white government.

 

-END-

 

[Brendan Ryan, bmr4@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

 

This film effectively demonstrated the misunderstanding that existed and to this day is causing conflict between native Australians and the Australian government.  The Aborigines, although we tend to lump them together when we talk about them are a very diverse group of people.  They populate an area much larger than the United States and we rarely speak of Native American groups as if they were one homogenous whole; the same is true of the Aborigines.  There are over 200 different Native Australian languages, which is down from over 700 a century ago.  Their culture is increasingly coming into conflict with the dominant political structure in Australia and it has lead to a gradual and sometimes overt attempt by the government to make them forget their heritage.  This was one of the best films we've watched all semester.

 

 

 

[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

 

Rabbit-Proof Fence – I absolutely loved this film! I saw it in my INTD 101 class my first semester here and it was amazing. The similarities between this and the Return of Navaho Boy illustrate the significance of family ties cross-culturally. I also love that Molly and Daisy made cameos at the end of the film because it really hits home to see that these people really existed and that this story really did happen. Plus I enjoy Kenneth Branagh!

 

[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

 

 

Rabbit Proof Fence

I was amazed at the effectiveness with witch the Australian government was able to cause social change in children.  While children are much more susceptible to influences around them I was in awe when the youngest too girls, Gracie and Daisy, decided that they liked it at the school and didn’t want to leave, proving the brilliance of the government idea to separate them from their family and implement social change while they are young. 

-END-

 

[Justin Wilmott, jmw23@geneseo.edu 12/17]

Rabbit Proof Fence

Rabbit Proof Fence is a very important movie because it sheds light onto a problem that can not only be seen in Australia, but other parts of the world such as Uganda, where children are taken and striped of their childhood and their heritage in order to become something they were not.  This movie also shows the reasons for the kidnapping of the aboriginal children and sheds light onto a topic that is not familiar to many.  From this film, we as human kind might be able  learn from our mistakes, get past our racially motivated acts of terror and learn that we are all human and all bleed the same blood.

-END-

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