"Radiance" Has A Cultural And Political Structure

1097 words - 4 pages

Aboriginal history and family values have been an integral part of Australian history. Radiance is a fresh influence to sensitive Aboriginal political issues that were overdue for addressing. For someone to state this movie has a strong cultural and political underpinning would be appropriate in relation to the film. In the perspective of this submission, it is my opinion that there was definitely an abundance of issues concerning the structure of Aboriginal culture and politics in this film.

Indigenous political issues were a main reason of the film being shot. Just into the film, Nona says that the sisters should claim land on their ancestry `Nora Island' where the Japanese have developed. The message was displayed humorously by Nona about dispossession. This is an important point to be addressed to the public. Only recently, more of us know that it is more than just dispossession issues the indigenous people have.

What is known as `The Stolen Generation' in my opinion, is an enormous feature in the film. References from the scene of Cressy and Nona in a heated moment, when Cressy illustrates to Nona, as children their mother easily handed Mae and herself to `officials' when they came to take them. Nona defends their mother and says that they once went to see the girls when they were at the school with nuns. On their first attempt to scatter ashes, which in my opinion is not of aboriginal custom, Mae breaks down and wails in tongue. It appears to be an aboriginal lyrical sorrow, which the whole reason for her doing this was initially because of her unfortunate childhood.

Culture is an important part of anyone's life, religious or not. The women acted out various references to traditional behaviour. For instance the mise-en-scene when Mae was burning their mother's belongings in view of their ancestral Nora Island. When Cressy and Nona are on the beach, Cressy says that `you can feel the electricity', Nona replies with `yeah, there'll be a storm soon'. The strange thing was that there actually was a storm. There was also Nona trying to keep hold of her heritage: when Cressy and herself found the turtle, Nona says to let it die on its back `the traditional way' and have curried turtle and `have a proper wake' for their mother.

There were religious props incorporated that added the cultural intensity of the film. In the scene when Cressy arrives at the house and receives water, the camera illustrates her looking intensely into the picture of Jesus on the wall. This picture of Jesus was constantly referred to throughout the movie. When the women prepared to burn the house, it was noted that the first couple of things to be doused with fuel were the photo of their mother and the picture of Jesus. At the funeral, Jesus on his cross was used as handles on the coffin of an `aboriginal' woman.

It is obvious when today's aboriginal community is examined; Europeans and Aboriginals would have mixed their blood at some time. The photo of...

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