an NFSA website

Big People, Small People (1991)


This two-part documentary was produced for SBS's Connections program and was screened over consecutive nights. The film contrasts the rich and poor in Australian society. Commentators include historian Manning Clarke, politician John Howard, cartoonist Michael Leunig and unionist John Halfpenny. The filmmaker Don Parham also takes his camera onto the streets of middle class suburbs and housing commission estates to collect interviews.

Curator’s notes

The filmmaker employs an idiosyncratic, meandering style that leaves the viewer to find wisdom in the views expressed by interviewees. The documentary captures the economic uncertainty of the early 1990s that followed the stock market crash of 1987, when Australians were questioning the 'wealth myth.’