A strange time machine: The Tracker, Black and White and Rabbit Proof Fence

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Abstract

Historical films have become an important way of representing the past, and three films released in 2002 (The Tracker, Black and White, and Rabbit‐Proof Fence) express our current preoccupation with how the colonial past has shaped present Australian identity. These films use a range of cinematic techniques to construct particular relationships between past and present, Aboriginal and white. Distancing strategies of colonialism‐as‐violence absolve us, in the present, from responsibility for continuing inequalities, yet ironically more empathetic narratives have been accused of appropriating Aboriginality. These landmark films point toward the potential for broadening public debate about Australian history beyond its current narrowly forensic terms, and for using new narrative and visual techniques to construct a past which is linked to, rather than severed from the present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Historical Studies
Volume35
Issue number123
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2008

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