Utopia film screening – The Block Redfern

For indigenous Australians, Australia Day is the Day of Mourning. In 1788, British and Irish settlement was the start of a struggle, injustice and resistance.

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Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth.

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Bafta and Emmy Award winning director, John Pilger, shows a film of both an epic portrayal of the oldest continuous human culture, and an investigation into a suppressed colonial past and rapacious present.

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In my circle, Redfern is seen as a not-so-safe suburb- but I beg to differ. The Block was filled with nearly a thousand people in a drug free, alcohol free environment. Last night, its community (and beyond) congregated to show the Australian premiere to reveal the world’s biggest secret against the boom of mineral wealth.

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Stepping out from the station we were met by more than a handful of activists seeking calls of action and to join the fight for sovereignty for their people.

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There was only one food truck for the full greenery around us – Veggie patch.

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This was not just an outdoor cinema but an opportunity to let speakers such as elders, embassy representatives, and Pilgner himself to give provocative speeches highlighting the negative impact white people has had on the indigenous.

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They were empowering. Rae Jackson fiercely remarked, ‘This land always will be aboriginal land’.

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As one of the elders said, ‘tonight is the night of truth’.

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What astounded me was that even today children were still being removed from their families. Wasn’t that only from the stolen generation in the 1900s and 1960s? Almost 50 years later, apparently not…

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In South Africa apartheid is famous. We are a seen as a ‘lucky’ country but people around are beginning to notice how we have wrongly treated them. Shameful.

No green grass was seen. We were glued onto the windy big screen.

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Utopia): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I go to watch Utopia again? Of course. There was so much depth, research and interviews which require deeper knowledge. The movie just scraped the surface of a problem and it kinda made me want to know more! It’ll be good to watch it again and have a better understanding. KRudd is in it too.

Would I pay for entry? Yes. It was ranked the fifth best film in 2013 by movie website London Film Review. Definitely worth the standard fee.

Highlight: It was actually great to see hundreds of people gather from all ethnicities and obviously a strong indigenous community. Listening to their elders and hearing them speak so passionately about their heritage and culture was astonishing.

Suggestion of Improvement: Obviously this was a very political gathering so it would’ve been nice to maybe have a twitter feed to get the audience involved. The film was noted to start at 7pm but because of all the speakers (which was necessary), it started at 9pm.

Link: http://utopiajohnpilger.co.uk/

Screenings: http://www.respectandlisten.org/miscellaneous/docos.html

Next screening: Wednesday January 29 2014. 7:30pm at Petersham Bowling Club https://www.facebook.com/events/224968797687453/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Angela Bee

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