Australian
Screen

an NFSA website




Bitter Springs (1950)

  1. This movie seems to be a fascinating document of Aboriginal Australian daily existence, when that still lay within the living memory of the people acting in the movie. The other story that lies behind the film, of Ralph Smart trying to use his narrative to at least face up to the unpalatable truth of the consequences for the original native peoples of the building of God's beautiful country, is just as admirable.

    The movie overtly avoids becoming imbued with any ethos that one form of society is somehow morally superior to the other (as was still evident in Hollywood movies of this era about the 'Wild West'). Throughout the film there is a clear and palpable conscience about the damage to 'native' life that is being done in the name of Progress, however inevitable that 'progress' is accepted as being. Even the farmers themselves seem to wish it could be done differently, but they remain implacably determined.

    The anodyne newsreel conclusion almost demands that the viewer searches for their own conclusion about what was really going to happen as the troopers led by Michael Pate, galloped back into the picture, to save the settlers from otherwise certain annihilation.

  2. #1 from MoorLarkin – 7 years, 1 month ago.
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