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Toomelah 2011

  • 5.3
    TVGLU rating 5.3/10 7 votes
  • 6.4/10
    TMDB rating
  • 6.1/10
    IMDB rating
  • d
    Qualification
  • 14
    visits
    Released
    106 min

    Facts

  • Toomelah
  • English
  • $
  • $
  • Featured crew

  • Ivan Sen,
  • ,
  • Bunya,,
  • Tagline :

    Awards : 3 wins & 4 nominations.

Overview

In a remote Aboriginal community, 10 year old Daniel yearns to be a gangster, like the male role models in his life. Skipping school, getting into fights and running drugs for Linden, who leads the main gang in town.
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Plot summary

In a remote Aboriginal community, 10 year old Daniel yearns to be a gangster, like the male role models in his life. Skipping school, getting into fights and running drugs for Linden, who leads the main gang in town.
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Review

I watched this film as I lived in nearby Goondiwindi on the Queensland/NSW border during the 60's and thought it would be interesting to take a look at a place so near, yet so marginalized and isolated that it might just as well have existed in the farthermost reaches of Siberia. The film quietly and breathtakingly conveys a sense of the isolation and hopelessness of a forgotten section of society. Toomelah is now a former mission where the residents live in dilapidated trailers and squalor. nnIn the 60's the indigenous Australians did not have the vote, nor did they have Australian citizenship and the Aboriginal pay rate was considerably lower than that of the white male and even that of women. Even if one was working, the pay was so low that it condemned them to eking out the most basic existence. Nearly 200 years after Europeans arrived in Australia and displaced the indigenous people, they had not been fully assimilated and the government did not seem to know what to do about them, wishing that they would just go away. Most white Australians living in the cities, never met an Aboriginal and could not care less about them. Many did not even consider them human. The official policy had been to destroy their ancient hunter gatherer culture by splitting up families and sending the children off to mission schools far away to be taught English and the European life style. Former missions like Toomelah are what was left. By the time of the film, things had changed somewhat and the indigenous now have citizenship, but many still live in isolated communities like Toomelah. nnThe inhabitants of Toomelah exist day to day. That is all. They don't appear to have any work to go to and kill time in between going to jail by sitting around drinking, using drugs and feuding and fighting. Little Daniel already sees no future other than hanging out with gangs and fighting. His mother is a drunk and uses drugs, his father is a meth head and he is too disruptive at the school where they don't seem to be engaging much with the children. There really is no beginning or end to his story. No one comes riding in to save Daniel from a life of crime. The gang he takes up with end up in jail after a rival gets a severe beating watched by half the town who do nothing to intervene. We can hope that he goes back to school and stays straight, but that is not likely. I don't know what the answer is. Certainly isolating indigenous people in small communities off the beaten track and forgetting about them is not the answer.nnThere has probably been no greater culture clash than that of the indigenous people of Australia and the Europeans. The native south and central Americans south had organized societies with cities and agriculture. The natives of north America had some agriculture and a nomadic tribal existence, but the native Australians had a primitive nomadic hunter gatherer tribal culture based on what was available to them. They had no crops, no beasts of burden, no cattle, horses, fruit, and existed on foraging. Within two generations they had been displaced by European settlers introducing sheep, cattle, crops, building permanent structures and clearing the native people off the land so they could exploit it. The people of Toomelah are the descendants of the displaced and those who displaced them.nnIf you care about people from different cultures, this film will stay with you, especially if you ever wonder about what might happen to us if our culture was suddenly destroyed and we were left to fend for ourselves as best we could.
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