Sunday, February 15, 2015


I caught the second half of the movie based on the life Jimmy Governor, "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" on National Indigenous TV (NITV) last night.
When I first saw it after it first came out in 1978, I was shocked by the cruelty depicted in it.
I walked out when the fictional Jimmie's brother was brutally shot.
It had seemed to me at age 30 a dark and brooding angry film.

Last night I was impressed with all its positive features.
In particular the top class cinematography and music.
I also picked up on things I would not have noticed, or even known about, before.
Like the symbolism of rocks and tree branches and other motifs woven throughout the visual narrative.
There were lots of factual errors in the story, but the book written by Thomas Keneally, was always presented as a novel, as fiction, not fact.

The movie is free to watch on YouTube.
I'll get back to you with more commentary when I've had another look.

Meantime, I recommend the director Fred Schepisi consider relaunching the film on the Australian national cinema circuit.
The general viewing public is much more educated about Aboriginal culture now, and negative attitudes towards Aborigines have changed.
That's a huge step forward in less than 40 years since the film first appeared.
Schepisi deserves to recoup some of the $250,000 he invested in the film, all of which he lost.