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Beating About the Bush 1993

Producer Nick Adler comments on 'Beating About the Bush’

The additional notes by Liz McNiven show a disappointing lack of understanding of the premise of the film. Richard Frankland and the band came to us specifically requesting that we film this tour, and the film was always going to be about cross-cultural communication (or the lack of it). That, of course, includes the filmmakers as a necessary part of the process. That communication is made harder (but perhaps also more interesting) as the difficulties faced on the road take their toll and the tour falls apart. To apply fixed academic dogma as a method of critique is of little value in a situation like this, and while we might all agree that it would be better if Aboriginal filmmakers worked with Aboriginal subjects, that was not a practical possibility when this film was made and that is probably why Richard came to us.

While there are no doubt many criticisms that can be justifiably levelled at this film, to say that the contrast of the characters’ sense of their Aboriginality with that of the people they encounter 'reaffirms the archaic notion of the race and caste system’ is nonsensical jargon that completely misses the point. The massive cultural gulf between urban and remote Aboriginal people is a part of the cultural breakdown process that has occurred in this country and I fail to see how reflecting that in the film reaffirms the race and caste system.

Nicholas Adler Co-Director

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