Directed by Tracey Moffat • Drama • With Marcia Langton, Agnes Hardwick, Jimmy Little • 1991 • 19 minutes
On an isolated, surreal Australian homestead, a middle-aged Aboriginal woman nurses her dying white mother. The adopted daughter’s attentive gestures mask an almost palpable hostility. Their story alludes to the assimilation policy that forced Aboriginal children to be raised in white families. The stark, sensual drama unfolds without dialogue against vivid painted sets as the smooth crooning of an Aboriginal Christian singer provides ironic counterpoint. Moffatt’s first 35mm film displays rare visual assurance and emotional power.
“A dazzling grand opera of silence and maternity, as opulent as Robert Wilson, as soulfully anguished as Fassbinder.” —Manohla Dargis Best of 1990,Village Voice
“Unsentimental and self-consciously artificial, the film undermines any easy assumptions or conclusions. Formally innovative and thought-provoking at once.” —Caryn James, New York Times