Film Scouts Diaries

2002 Taormina BNL FilmFest Diaries
Cosa Mostra: Day 5

by Philipp Hoschka

Taormina, July 10, 2002 - Watching some of the journalists here work makes me think that the Internet still has growth potential in some areas - they write their articles in Word, print them, and then fax them to their editorial office.

"Rabbit-Proof Fence", today's main movie, is about Australia's "Stolen Generation", one of the more obscure cases of racism in the last century. For many years, the Australian government abducted half-breed Aboriginal children into camps where they were re-educated to better fit into white society. A goal was also to "breed out" their Aboriginal genes. This seems particularly topical in Sicily, where locals tell you that the Normans used the "right of the first night" for similar purposes when they conquered the Island after 200 years of Muslim rule. This was around 1000 AD, however, whereas the Australian camps were closed only around 1970.

The picture tells the story of three young girls that manage to escape from such a camp, and walk 1,500 miles through the outback to return to their family. Tonight's screening was the first outside of Australia. The movie created a lot of political controversy in Australia, where there is still a debate on whether the story told in the movie is actually the historic truth.

Having made "big" Hollywood movies such as "Patriot Games", "The Saint" and "The Bone Collector", Australian director Phillip Noyce returned to his native country to make this low-budget film that covers the topic in the tradition of Spielberg's "The Color Purple" or "Schindler's List". The audience in the Greek theatre thanked him with 10-minute standing ovation after the screening.

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