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CASE STUDY: Portrayal of Aboriginality by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples through the use of

Uploaded by Rainmaker_2001 on May 08, 2005

Indigenous Australians by examining the portrayal of Aboriginality by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples through the use of Films. The films that were used for this study were Stephen Johnson’s ‘Yolngu Boy’, Bruce Beresford’s ‘Fringe Dwellers and Rachel Perkins’ ‘Radiance’.
Throughout the years many Australian films have been made depicting Aboriginal people and their Aboriginality. Three such films are Stephen Johnson’s Yolngu Boy, Rachel Perkins’, who is an Indigenous person, Radiance and Bruce Beresford’s Fringe Dwellers. These three films all demonstrate differing portrayals of Aboriginality and the way in which it is presented. One element that notably affects the portrayal of Aboriginality is the era in which the films were made and if the film makers were Indigenous or non-Indigenous. In Yolngu Boy, Aboriginality is presented in the forms of sacred ceremonies and the use of stereotypes. These stereotypes are portrayed through images of ‘Botj’s petrol sniffing incidents and the association between this substance abuse and his alcoholic father, who abandoned his traditional life and family and caused the family unit to break down’. (Johnson: 2001) The use of traditional ceremonies and totemic symbols shows that Aboriginality is something that connects the film’s Aboriginal people to each other, their communities and country. In contrast Bruce Beresford’s Fringe Dwellers has depicted Aboriginality in a more discriminative and negative way. He has portrayed Aboriginality as being an undesired element of European society. One who views Fringe Dwellers comes away with the impression that to be ‘Aboriginal is to live in corrugated iron dwellings, squander money, be unreliable,’ and by living on the edge of town they are living on the outer edge of the main society (Beresford: 1986). Finally Rachel Perkins’ Radiance portrays Aboriginality as being bound by kinship and through the underlying political issues of her era. Her portrayal of Aboriginality is understood after the women’s childhood house is burnt down; they appear to have released the ties that have bound them to secrets pertaining to their individual childhood memories. The underlying political issues that show through in Perkins’ Aboriginality portrayal are those of Native title and Stolen generations. Rachel Perkins addresses these issues by demonstrating that Aboriginality is not where a person dwells or what their dwellings consist of, it is what the personal beliefs of the person are and their own bodily feelings or spiritual knowledge are.
In Stephen Johnson’s 2000 film ‘Yolngu Boy’, Aboriginality is primarily portrayed through the...

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Uploaded by:   Rainmaker_2001

Date:   05/08/2005

Category:   Film

Length:   8 pages (1,911 words)

Views:   3753

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