Rabbit Proof Fence

Philip Noyce, the director of The Saint and Sliver does an about face in this human-scale film about a horrible crime committed in Australia in the 20th century. For nearly a hundred years, the white government went about snatching children from their aboriginal parents and raising them in what were essentially penal colonies in order to train them to become menial servants. Three girls, aged 8 to 14, escaped from their captors and walked over a thousand miles back to their home, following a route through the rough desert terrain. It’s an incredibly affecting, though at times didactic and manipulative film, and one that deserves to be seen, if not for its artistic merits, at least insofar as it skillfully exposes this incredibly shameful episode. An excellent performance by Everlyn Sampi as the oldest of the girls holds the story together, balancing a somewhat campy villain performance by Kenneth Branagh as Mr. Neville, whose unselfconsciously ironic title was Chief Protector of Aborigines.


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