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review, 6. Dezember 2007
The movie "Rabbit-Proof Fence" tells us the story of three half-caste girls who succeed in escaping from a native settlement and getting back home.
It is based on the novel "Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence" by Doris Pilkington who is the daughter of the main character Molly.
The Movie is set in the 1930s. This was about the time when there were the first missions where young half-castes were educated and assimilated into white society. Mr. A. O. Neville was the "Chief Protector of Aborigines". The children who had to suffer from these missions are known as the "Stolen Generation".
The main characters of the movie Molly, her sister Daisy and their Cousin Gracie also belong to that generation. They are taken away from their family in Jigalong by Australian policemen. They get to "Moore River Native Settlement" where they are forced to follow a lot of rules by white missionaries. These rules are, for example, to pray, to sing English songs and to perform them. Apart from that they are not allowed to speak their mother tongue and to wear their own clothes. The children are even punished physically whenever they break a rule. The movie "Rabbit-Proof Fence" tells us the story of three half-caste girls who succeed in escaping from a native settlement and getting back home.
Molly immediately realizes that at this camp they will have to give up their identities and all of their customs and values. So she decides to leave that place together with Daisy and Gracie as quickly as possible.
Soon they find out that they have to follow the rabbit-proof fence to get back home to Jigalong. The rabbit-proof fence is a fence that goes from the east of Australia to the west. It was built to keep the large number of rabbits under control to prevent them from getting to the farmer's land.
During their escape the girls meet many different people. Some of them are really nice to them and give them clothes or food. But, of course, Molly, Daisy and Gracie have to be very careful with trusting others. The Aboriginal tracker Moodoo is trying to find them and Mr. Neville also sends his people to pursue the girls.
Finally, Gracie is caught because Mr. Neville succeeds in fooling her. But Molly and Daisy arrive in Jigalong after about 1500 miles of walking.
At first sight, it seems that "Rabbit-Proof Fence" only deals with a political problem. There is no doubt that this is the case and you certainly cannot deny that it is a problem of immediate interest. There were such missions until about forty years ago and the Australian government has not apologized for this yet.
After having watched this movie you will be convinced that it is impossible to forcibly assimilate any other race into a completely different society.
But "Rabbit-Proof Fence" also deals with some important psychological topics.
The movie shows us this story in a very touching way without any exaggeration. It is easy to put yourself in Molly's position because although there is not much dialogue in the movie, her feelings always become very clear. It is also safe to say that Everlyn Scampi, Tianna Sansbury and Laura Monaghan, the actresses who play Molly, Daisy and Gracie, are really good although it is the first time that they act in a movie.
What is especially emphasized in the movie is the contrast between the girls` lives with and without their family. Even if you have not heard of any Aboriginal customs before, you will completely understand the problems the girls have with assimilating into white society.
It is extremely impressive how determined especially Molly, but also Daisy and Gracie are to get back home. Instantly, they recognize that "Moore River Native Settlement" is not good for them. Therefore they take the big risk of being caught and they put up with the 1500-mile-long walk.
Here, however, I have to criticize that in the movie it does not really become clear enough how much this is and how long the children have to walk.
Nevertheless, not only do we get to know Molly's situation but also Mr. Neville's point of view and the reasons for the behaviour of other characters in the movie become clear.
Mr. Neville is absolutely sure that it is right what he is doing to the half-castes. To my mind Kenneth Branagh is a very convincing actor.
Another interesting topic depicted in "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is the following question: How much are you prepared to do for another people who need your help when there is the risk that you jeopardise yourself and your family?
Molly, Daisy and Gracie meet a woman who feels sympathy for them and gives them something to eat. But, nevertheless, she wants them to leave very quickly because she is afraid of Mr. Neville.
I was a little bit disappointed that we do not get to know more about Moodoo, the Aboriginal tracker, and his feelings towards the three girls. In my opinion it does not become clear enough whether he really wants to catch them or not.
Personally, I very much enjoyed the beautiful landscape that is showed in the movie. In addition to that, I like the Aboriginal soundtrack that, again, stresses the Aboriginal culture.
To sum it up "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is a great movie and I can only encourage you to watch it.