Australian Screen

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Babakiueria (1986)

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'This strange and fascinating people'

Original classification rating: PG. This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

Presenter Duranga Manika (Michelle Torres) describes her fascination with white people and their customs and explains how she spent six months living with a ‘typical white family’ (Tony Barry, Cecily Polson, Kelan Angel, Margeurita Haynes). She also asks members of the general public for their opinions on white people and speaks to the Minister for White Affairs (Bob Maza).

Curator’s notes

Atherden’s script takes stereotypes of Australian culture and, with tongue-in-cheek humour, views them as though for the first time, as mysterious, alien and strange. Here, the barbecue is singled out. Elsewhere Manika describes the football match as ritualised violence and betting at the TAB as a religion, while a police commissioner calls the Anzac Day March a ritual where white people ‘honour their warrior ancestors’ but wonders why it can’t be done at home.

Presenter Duranga Manika’s ethnographic study of white people simplifies, patronises and mystifies her subjects. Every mundane detail of this one family’s everyday life is invested with serious cultural significance. Bob Maza’s Minister for White Affairs compresses a history of government treatment of Indigenous Australians into one self-satisfied, authoritative figure. It is interesting that while these characters treat ‘white’ culture with such fascination, they treat ‘black’ culture as such a given that the audience does not find out much about it.

It is worth comparing the vox pops here with the remarkably similar 1965 interview footage shown in Rachel Perkins’s documentary Blood Brothers – Freedom Ride (1993). For more insight into first contact and the historical attitudes of colonisers, see Ivo Burum’s documentary Benny and the Dreamers (1992), which contrasts contemporary interviews with Pintubi people recalling their first contact with white people, with archival footage showing the perspective of white missionaries.

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Terms & Conditions

australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described here and elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions. ALL rights are reserved.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading this clip:

When you access ABC materials on australianscreen you agree that:

  1. You may download this clip to assist your information, criticism and review purposes in conjunction with viewing this website only;
  2. Downloading this clip for purposes other than criticism and review is Prohibited;
  3. Downloading for purposes other than non-commercial educational uses is Prohibited;
  4. Downloading this clip in association with any commercial purpose is Prohibited;

The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.

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