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June 04, 2009



I was only there for two years, but I can certainly say that Alice leaves its mark. I imagine the longer you are there the bigger the impression. I haven't seen this yet, but I'm keen to. I'll remember to take the tissues.

another outspoken female

I've been eagerly waiting to read your take on this film. I was moved by the S+D but even more so by Beneath Clouds also.

One of the odd asides I came away with from watching it is wondering whether it will have a negative impact on tourism in the town? What good lefty would want to identify with being one of the tourists in the film? Better of to stay away if you can't fix the problem?


Do you really think people would respond that way re: tourism? I think those cameos were more an indictment on the latte sippers of this town. Tourists probably interact more with hawkers in the Mall, for all the reasons that tourists do those kind of things.

My review is over at sars:

another outspoken female

I've spoken to a few people who responded this way (in Melbourne) just quietly amongst themselves so I thought I'd mentioned it.


Well, it's interesting to hear that...I'm disappointed if that's their response and I'd be surprised if it was Thornton's intention for them to respond that way.

There is a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' aspect to Indigenous affairs and certainly a lot of damage has been done over the years. But as you'll see from my review, some people in Alice Springs hoped that more people would come, as a result of the film.


Thanks for this, el. you've got me thinking about it all over again! and i can only agree with the 'damned if you do, damned if you dont' circle that has snared aboriginal politics. in terms of the filem, though, i like you final sentence about 'simple and honest storytelling'. it's spot on - and i think an outcome such as that is praise indeed.


Elsewhere, I was very glad to read your blog on this. I saw this S+D in Adelaide and I thought it was amazing - beautifully shot and well directed, even funny in parts, like with the grandma, but I found I was the only one in the cinema laughing, as though the rest of the audience felt like they couldn't, or something, because this was a 'serious' film about 'Aboriginal issues' and not to be taken lightly. The whole mood in the cinema was sombre from the very beginning.

I saw the film with someone who's never lived in the Territory, and afterwards, found I couldn't really find the words to talk about the film, and couldn't really be bothered to listen to what she said about it. It was too big, in a way, to discuss: It was going to be that same conversation you always have with well-meaning lefties when they find out you work in the Territory/for an Aboriginal organisation and you're asked to represent or judge things and make statements that they can take away and misrepresent later as true and whole, when really, it's just your observation and in any case there's more to it than you could ever put in a sentence.

I found watching this film make me feel really sad for Alice - just thinking 'yeah, I biked past a scene not unlike that nearly every day (and worse) on my way to work, and it's still happening, and I can't see a time when it won't be'. It also reminded me of that sense of hopelessness that I felt as some point on most days I was there, and I thought, 'how awesome not to have to deal with that every day / wow, I can't believe I know that's happening and I just walked away from it'.

I thought it was interesting that the director chose sniffing when, like you said, grog seems to be a much more widespread problem. Sniffing is an 'Aboriginal problem', where grog is an everyman's problem, and I wonder whether the film would have had the same reception if Samson was a drinker?

I found the end of the film entirely depressing - I pictured Delilah exactly as you said: with kids and a disabled partner and very little access to services or community. I found S+D's relationship really hard to watch - it was a pathos of a sort I thought. Nothing's changed for Delilah at the end of the film; she's gone from looking after her grandmother to looking after Samson. She's totally stuck there, kind of of her own choosing, but in a sense, what else was there for her?

And have I just done that thing you didn't do and written a really long comment instead of writing my own blog?

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