It feels like the world is slowly starting to acknowledge and stand up for rights of BIPOC people. Here in Australia, there have been thousands-strong protests, overdue national outrage and the desire to learn about the history and culture of First Nations people.
As well donating, supporting Indigenous businesses and signing petitions, many people are turning to books, movies, docos and TV series in an effort to educate themselves about white privilege.
Fortunately, streaming service Stan has a bunch of moving and thought-provoking shows and flicks you can check out that not only illustrate Indigenous culture but also celebrate their immense talent.
We’ve rounded up your must-watch viewing list below.
Rabbit Proof Fence
To begin your binge sesh, you’ll want to start here, because this incredible flick is one all Australians need to see. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Doris Pilkington Garimara, it’s based on the true story about her mother, Molly who was part of the Stolen Generations. Set in WA in the early 1930s, the film follows Aboriginal sisters Molly and Daisy and their cousin Gracie who are forcibly removed from their home in Jigalong and taken to Moore River Native Settlement—a brutal re-education camp. The trio eventually escape and spend nine weeks following the “rabbit-proof fence” over 2,000 kilometres back home. It’s a heart-wrenching but important look at the cruel injustices endured by the Stolen Generations.
Samson And Delilah
This haunting flick was directed by the legendary Warwick Thornton, a proud Kaytetye man whose debut movie won him the Caméra d'Or award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Cinematically stunning, the movie tells the story of Aboriginal teens Samson and Delilah who live in a rural community near Alice Springs. Delilah (Marissa Gibson) spends her days caring for her sick grandmother while Samson (Rowan McNamara), who is mute, longs for Delilah to notice him. When tragedy strikes, the duo run away to Alice Springs and begin sleeping rough. While they yearn for a fresh start, Samson struggles to escape his demons leaving Delilah to pick up the pieces and build them a new life. Yep, keep the tissues close for this one.
This moving, thought-provoking drama is set in Sydney's inner city suburb of Redfern. Over six one-hour episodes (you’ve got two seasons to binge so count yourself lucky) you’ll explore the dynamics and relationships of six different Indigenous families whose lives are each forever changed by a major event, from a marriage breakdown and illness to addiction and racism. Directed by Rachel Perkins (Mabo and Bran Nue Dae) it stars a host of amazing Indigenous talent including Deborah Mailman, Meyne Wyatt, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. The show was so popular it also spawned a spin off movie, Promise Me, in 2015 which you can also catch on Stan.
The Final Quarter
Trust us when we say you absolutely don’t need to be an AFL fan to appreciate the importance of this documentary. The doco follows the final three years of legendary AFL footballer and a proud Andyamathanha/Narungga man Adam Goodes, when he became the subject of targeted racism that sent shockwaves around the country. In this flick you’ll witness first-hand the incredible highs and shocking lows Goodes was dealt, from being named Australian of the Year and proudly performing an on-field war dance to being booed and taunted by crowds during his final years at the Sydney Swans. The Final Quarter is an important piece of cinema that reveals an uncomfortable but important narrative on racism that occurs in our backyard far too frequently.
Mystery Road is both a movie and a spin-off TV series that just dropped a second season. The movie and show follow Detective Jay Swan played by the supremely talented Aaron Pedersen, a proud Arrernte and Arabana man. Shot in the stunning top end of Western Australia, we follow Detective Swan as he’s tasked with everything from investigating the disappearance of two young farmhands on an outback cattle station, to a drug trafficking ring. The show and movie are packed with a stellar cast including Ernie Dingo, Tasma Walton and Madeleine Madden. If you want to watch the movies and TV show in the correct order (not essential but helpful), it goes like this: Mystery Road: the movie, Mystery Road: TV series season one, Goldstone: the movie and finish with Mystery Road: TV series season two which is currently on ABC iView.
While you're at it, become a better ally and tune in to these six epic Indigenous podcasts.
Image Credit: Bunya Productions