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Plains Empty (2005)


An enthralling drama about a young married woman who, left alone in the mining fields, encounters a ghost of the past.

Curator’s notes

Beck Cole continues with the theme of ghostly apparitions and visitations and, in this enthralling drama, exploits the vacuous space of the mining fields, where a young woman, left largely to her own devices, is drawn into uncovering hidden stories of the past. A wonderful drama and one from a bevy of emergent filmmakers that marks the maturation of Indigenous filmmaking, in that the themes explored in this film are not strictly demarcated or restricted by the character’s cultural identity.

Plains Empty is a human drama about a young woman named Sam (Ngaire Pigram) who, while intensely alone in the mining fields, encounters the spirit of the past. The spirit of a young Aboriginal woman haunts Sam, who begins to question what it is the spirit is asking of her. Plains Empty can function as a metaphor for the whole Australian landscape, where the living characters are beset by the spirits of the past, and at no time is the past truly absent.

Beck Cole has also made Flat (2003), Wirriya: Small Boy (2004) and Skin Sisters.

Other films in the AFC Indigenous Branch drama initiative Dramatically Black are The Djarn Djarns, Sa Black Thing, Green Bush (all 2005) and Crocodile Dreaming (2006).