Yolngu Boy (Stephen Johnson, 2000), about the friendship between three adolescent Aboriginal men and the way each relates to the ancient cultural tradition to which they belong, arrives at a time when awareness of Australia’s colonial history, in particular, phenomena like the ‘Stolen Generation’, is considerable. But this is a very troubled time of awareness, in which the fight to ‘write’ or ‘claim’ ‘history’ according to one’s own political and personal ideology is shockingly evident, as outlined by Robert Manne in a recent article (1). In a public screening for the film that was followed by a Q&A with the director, scriptwriter and producer that I attended, it became quite obvious in the tenor and content of the audience’s questions that they not only enjoyed the film but were indeed moved by what they had just seen. It was apparent that the main reason for such a reaction was because the audience was given a rare opportunity to relish in the sounds and images of Aboriginal characters, their communities and their stories, portrayed in a naturalistic, detailed and genuine light. Despite the Australian government’s notorious refusal to apologise to the indigenous community regarding Australia’s colonial past and its efforts to discredit the ‘Stolen Generation’ there is a strong willingness among a good portion the Australian public to forge an understanding for indigenous culture and history – a sentiment that was evident at the public screening of Yolngu Boy which I attended.
Referring to questions regarding the film’s comment or position in relation to current debates, director Stephen Johnson emphasised that this was of secondary importance and that primary was the drive to capture the energy of the story, the characters and their journey. This is in fact a huge credit to the film and one of its delights – that it is never didactic or dogmatic in its treatment of social and political issues and does not justify its characters or story in the overall scheme of serving such goals. In terms of where Yolngu Boy sits within a broader spectrum of the politics of representation, this is encapsulated in the fact that the film does not deal at all with racial conflict. Yolngu Boy‘s story and characters derive from within the Yolngu community, in which white people appear infrequently, and when they do, the filmmakers treat it nonchalantly, for example, when icon Jack Thompson appears it is a completely modest and underplayed moment. The most notable examples in Australian cinema history which feature indigenous characters – Charles Chauvel’s Jedda (1955), Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout (1970), and Phil Noyce’s Backroads (1977) -explore their indigenous characters via inter-racial relationships. However, Yolngu Boy‘s perspective on Aboriginal culture is completely independent of the wider context of white Australia. One only has to consider the level of detail in the many references throughout the film to traditional objects, symbols, and totems. This level of detail is a result of the local community’s full support and the presence of the Yothu Yindi Foundation as one of the film’s major producers.
Yolngu Boy begins in flashback mode, with three young Aboriginal boys – Lorrpu (John Sebastian Pilakui), Botj (Sean Mununggurr) and Milika (Nathan Daniels) – gallantly and happily striding through a river at low tide pointing their spears before them, while a voice-over, belonging to Lorrpu, reminisces about “three boys . one dream”. The dream, which the older Lorrpu – the one most interested in ensuring the boys embrace their Aboriginal past – reminisces, is that of the three becoming great hunters like their forefathers.
The film then jumps forward to the present day – Lorrpu’s flashback swiftly and comically revealed as a fantasised, idyllic Aboriginal past, interrupted by the present-day urging of Milika to join him to play football. Although the film acknowledges this past, as this flashback shows, it is also realistic about the modern world and forthright in suggesting that these two worlds can and do co-exist. Its treatment of these issues with humour and general understatement is one thing that is immediately uplifting about Yolngu Boy.
Early on, the film’s central premise is established – at the same time, Lorrpu and Milika are chosen by the Aboriginal elder, Dawu (Nungki Yunupingu), to receive “ceremony” and be initiated into the community’s ancestral belief-system, Botj returns home from a 6-month stint in prison for having stolen a motorbike. He is quickly identified as the ‘bad boy’, the bad seed from within the circle of childhood friends that has grown up to be an angry, rebellious man. Furthermore, he has no family to come home to – his mother has disowned him, convinced that he is a substance abuser like his father – and so Lorrpu and Milika are his surrogate family.
Not long after his return home, Botj urges his friends to join him in robbing a local convenience store for “smokes”. The three rampage the store in a sequence of MTV-style proportions immersing themselves as much as possible in all that commodity culture has to offer – food, drink, music, clothes, gadgets and toys. When Botj becomes out of control, Lorrpu’s and Milika’s attempts to stop him are met with anger and hostility, leading to a rift between the boys and the opening of a spiral of self-destruction for Botj. He begins sniffing petrol, hallucinates at an open religious site and accidentally alights the community centre. Throughout this fantasised sequence, Botj is haunted by the totem of the “baru” (the venerated totem of the Gumatj people; it refers to the crocodile and is represented by a diamond pattern). It is likely he will return to prison for this latest crime, and so the film’s journey begins when Lorrpu decides to save Botj from this fate by taking him to Darwin to meet with Dawu, who can protect him from the law (how it is not very clear). Lorrpu convinces both Botj and Milika to join him on the trip from North East Arnhem Land to Darwin even though they have no money and Botj is still injured from the fire.
Throughout the journey through the harsh North Australian outback, the boys gradually resort to ancient cultural practices of hunting and gathering that they learnt as children in order to survive. So the journey facilitates a process of returning to their cultural origins, which in this case is also synonymous with restoring their strong friendship bonds. The complete immersion in the bush and ancient practices is then brilliantly contrasted when the boys arrive in Darwin with the otherworldly, surreal space of shopping malls and suburbia. Shortly after arriving in Darwin, Botj goes to visit his father, who – living amongst what is referred to in the film’s press kit as the ‘long grass people’, “a collection of lost souls in Darwin” – is an alcoholic and is unable to recognise his son at all. The harsh reality of the situation leads Botj down a spiral of self-destruction – of petrol sniffing and his ultimate death. His death becomes a metaphor for an unreconciliation of past and present, a severed identity.
Set among the Yolngu community, located in north-east Arnhem Land, Yolngu Boy takes as its central theme the issue of identity for young adolescent Aboriginal men. The filmmakers have fitted a precise and ‘authentic’ portrayal of Aboriginal culture, in particular that belonging to the Yolngu people, their rituals and symbols, and the various factors and elements at play within this environment (commodity culture, Western influence), within a narrative journey and traditional 3-act script. However, the forward movement of the narrative and plot is overall too forced, and sometimes threatens to constrain the characters. Consequently there are certain moments in performance, and camera-work where the style is pitched at an overly dramatic, heightened level – but these are dramatic moments not supported by a strong sense of drama in the narrative. This constant plunging forward that the script/narrative performs is echoed in Yolngu Boy‘s constantly restless style, its constant resort to fast-paced, wild camera movements, sudden zooms, quick editing, and blasting music. This had an overall irritating effect – I kept on wishing the film would slow down, meditate on and flesh out a bit more its characters, their emotional quandaries and even the relation between the landscape and the boys during their all-important journey. At the Q&A, the director described the film as essentially inviting the audience to take this exciting journey, this roller coaster ride, to experience this visceral thrill. Given that one of its main funding backers is the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, it comes at no surprise that Yolngu Boy‘s storytelling structure is very mainstream and that it emphasises the ‘feel-good’, exciting qualities of going on a journey or that it is filled with high-octane visuals – appropriate for a young audience. Yet a good story for both younger and older audiences is not necessarily guaranteed by a music-clip aesthetic, designed essentially to grip the viewer’s attention by having one spectacle of image and sound continuously succeed another.
In fact, this image of sliding between demographics (younger and broad audience) mirrors the film itself – the way it broaches current, complex and serious themes like the reconciliation of two worlds (modern and ancient), alcoholism in Aboriginal communities, crime among Aboriginal adolescents but then constrains them within an overall simplistic and caustic narrative framework. Some moments of the film remain murky and unclear – for example, is the journey to see Darwin or to escape the authorities? And at times throughout the journey, Yolngu Boy‘s narrative loses any real sense of tension or strong sense of purpose and becomes a travelogue of 3 young men having a great time in the bush. Characters remain problematically clichéd – for example, the character Botj, his rebellion and angst is never satisfyingly explored beyond the gesture of a cliché. His ‘bad boy’ attitude is treated in an overall caustic and simplistic manner, capped in the final plot denouement in which his death is overly dramatic. Inadequacies in story and script are partly compensated by the three boys’ performances, whose natural charisma radiates on the screen.
The film touches on important, current themes in a subtle way – the way white commodity culture insidiously seeps into Aboriginal neighbourhoods; and the way young adults’ dreams or self-image are informed by this culture (football, music, fashion). Yolngu Boy succeeds in capturing what it means to be young and Aboriginal – in their connection to the modern, white world (football, popular music, commodity culture). Its noble gesture resides in taking on board the issue of reconciling a modern, consumerist world with an ancient one. The central theme of youth and the precarious position Aboriginal youth especially occupy in being able to reconcile these two worlds is apparently what guaranteed the community’s full support. Ultimately, however, Yolngu Boy fails to meet the emotional depths it sets out to achieve and this may be a direct result of its overly caustic narrative and fast-paced, action/adventure tone in which a meditative, reflective quality is disallowed.
- Robert Manne, “White Lies”, The Age (The Saturday Extra), Saturday March 31 2001, pp.1-2
Poetry essay writing.
Comparing and Contrasting The Writing Center AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News Poetry Literature revision.
Examples poetry comparison essays INPIEQ In this essay I will be writing about two poems which are Two Scavengers .
Comparison essay between Page Zoom in.
poems search results Teachit Kibin english essay comparing two poems Brefash.
Compare two poems essay gcse mukaieasydns.
Annotated Bibliography of Works on Extensive Reading in a Second Language Arranged in Alphabetical Order Liu I Young S S AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News.
Document image preview.
Poetry Literature revision.
AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News.
Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News Film Adam Curtis Spike Art Daily Can be used for paragraph essays only Film Adam Curtis Spike Art Daily Can be used for paragraph essays only.
Essay comparing two war poems Marked by Teachers.
Compare and contrast essay of two poems Writing a compare and contrast essay This type of essay is basically a composition which is concentrated on two points The compare and contrast essay .
Compare and Contrast Essay with Blake s Chimney Sweeper Poems .
Carpinteria Rural Friedrich.
Pertemuan Comparison Contrast Matakuliah Writing III Outline of the materials Comparison contrast essay definition Organization Pattern.
A comparison of the two poems The Isles of Scilly and At the mukaieasydns.
Compare and contrast essay of two poems spaced essays Interrogation essay and Kinesic interviewing Kinesic interviewing and interrogation essay essay compare and contrast two poems about what .
Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems oyulaw Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems oyulaw.
Essay on comparing and contrasting two poems easy Danen Chem Essay Comparing Two Poems Buy literature essay How To Write Phd Personal Statement FREE Comparing Two Poems Papers Comparing Two Poems Essays at .
th grade Reading Worksheets Poems comparing GreatSchools Resume Template Essay Sample Free Essay Sample Free Danen Chem.
Compare and contrast essay of two poems venja co Resume And Cover Letter.
Compare and Contrast Two Poems SlideShare.
How compare contrast poems Yahoo Answers.
Autumn poems comparison essay GCSE English Marked by Teachers com Compare two poems from other cultures GCSE English Marked by Compare two poems from other cultures GCSE English Marked by.
Document image preview.
poem comparison essay outline.
Compare and contrast essay of two poems how to write a poetry analysis essay example absolutewebaddress com Comparison Sample Literary Essay Two Poems.
poems search results Teachit In my essay I will be comparing the two poems nothings changed by TES poem comparison.
Stealing and Hitcher In this essay I will be comparing two poems was a new Europe comparing two poems Essays Creative Writing essay .
Compare two poems essay gcse AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News singh history compare.
In my essay I will be comparing the two poems nothings changed by Carpinteria Rural Friedrich.
Thesis statement for compare and contrast poems.
Compare poems essay examples.
english essay comparing poems college paper serviceenglish essay comparing poems AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News.
In his essay Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau opens by saying I heartily accept the motto That government is best which governs least and .
Comparing two poems Island Man and Blessing GCSE English Explain how Carol Ann Duffy conveys her feelings towards the subjects of the two .
compare and contrast poems essay essay comparing two poems Essay question compare and contrast the presentation of the child in William Blake s .
Examples poetry comparison essays AQA GCSE English Literature Power and Conflict Comparing All About Essay Example Galle Co Comparing Poems.
In my essay I will be comparing the two poems nothings changed by How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay Comparing Contrasting Two Professional help with college admission essay.
In this essay I will be dealing with two poems The Richest Poor dravit si.
MacCaig poetry Comparing two poems No matter which two poems you Resume Template Essay Sample Free Essay Sample Free.
Compare The Lamb and The Tyger by William Blake.
Comparison Sample Literary Essay Two Poems points are needed for a complete essay poetry into the Any academic essay must have a thesis statement and a BIT Journal.
what is poetry essay Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems.
essay poetry g essay poetry sample poetry analysis essay wwwgxart BIT Journal.
In my essay I will be comparing the two poems nothings changed by Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems How To What Is Poetry Essay Badgercub Get.
Diamond Geo Engineering Services.
Comparing two poems Island Man and Blessing GCSE English NEW AQA GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE PAPER Unseen poetry ASSESSMENT BBC Exemplar comparative essay on conflict poetry.
Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems.
Compare Two Poems by Emily Dickinson Because I Could Not Stop AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News Page Zoom in.
Compare and contrast essay of two poems Compare two poems from other cultures GCSE English Marked by Compare two poems from other cultures GCSE English Marked by.
Examples poetry comparison essays Emory Women Writers Resource Project The Atomic Poems of .
How To Start An Essay Comparing Two Poems image .
Compare two poems essay gcse.
How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay Comparing Contrasting Two Professional help with college admission essay All About Essay Example.
Compare contrast essay beowulf movie poem Compare and contrast the two poems Essay example.
Examples poetry comparison essays Bihap com Preview.
Page Zoom in.
An essay on the comparison of the two poems Catrin and the StudentShare To .
In my essay I will be comparing the two poems nothings changed by AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News aqa old anthology search results teachit preview Essay Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems.
Comparing Two Or More Poems for a Literature Essay hubpages.
essay comparing two poems www gxart orgcomparing and contrasting two poems by the same authorcomparing and.
Easy poem to write an essay on.
Comparing poems in an essay When comparing poems you need to As part of the GCSE an essay on each poem and Edexcel GCSE English Literature Unit You must .
Compare and contrast essay of two poems Comparison Sample Literary Essay Two Poems points are needed for a complete essay poetry into the .
Compare and Contrast Essay with Blake s Chimney Sweeper Poems Diamond Geo Engineering Services.
A comparison of the two poems The Isles of Scilly and At the Tes Exemplar comparative essay on conflict poetry by MrHarefield Teaching Resources TES.
Comparison and contrast essay on sisters.
Essay on comparing and contrasting two poems on the same subject INPIEQ.
Comparing and Contrasting The Writing Center Pen Pad Comparison essay poems.
Comparison essay poems bihap com Document image preview.
poem comparison essay tivirusak resume the original compare and SlidePlayer Poem Explication Essay Wartortle Thats Handy.
Compare Two Poems by Emily Dickinson Because I Could Not Stop for Death and I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died Essay Example.
PROMPT The poems below published in and were written by William Marked by Teachers.
I have chosen to compare vultures and two scavengers in a truck .
For the Different Cultures exam in Year you will be expected to.
For the Different Cultures exam in Year you will be expected to.
Identify a SIRV reason for comparing these two poems UNC Writing Center UNC Chapel Hill.
springhill miners museum review essay SlidePlayer springhill miners museum review essay SlidePlayer.
essay poetry g essay poetry sample poetry analysis essay wwwgxart .
In this essay I will be dealing with two poems The Richest Poor .
Examples poetry comparison essays Comparing Two Or More Poems for a Literature Essay hubpages Compare Contrast Poems A Working Girl.
springhill miners museum review essay SlidePlayer springhill miners museum review essay SlidePlayer dravit si.
Essay on comparing and contrasting two poems with the same theme .
english essay comparing two poems Brefash Carpinteria Rural Friedrich.
Compare and contrast essay cars and bikes itcher yolngu boy belonging essays Compare and contrast essay cars and bikes itcher yolngu boy belonging essays AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News.
Identify a SIRV reason for comparing these two poems Fall Comparison Essay of Two Poems YouTube sunsafesbo com Fall Comparison Essay of Two Poems YouTube sunsafesbo com.
Poetry comparison essay sample .
Outline for a comparison and contrast essay.
Compare contrast essay beowulf movie poem AppTiled com Unique App Finder Engine Latest Reviews Market News Application essay writing poetry analysis essay rhetorical analysis essay outline example poem analysis essay example.
Example comparative essay poems A Comparison of London by William Blake and Ozymandias by Percy Brefash.
Identify a SIRV reason for comparing these two poems Resume Template Essay Sample Free Essay Sample Free.
Page Zoom in.
How To Write An Essay About A Poem.
Example comparative essay poems American Vending.
In my essay I will be comparing the two poems nothings changed by Danen Chem.
In my essay I have decided to compare two of Carol Ann Duffy s .
Document image preview emaks tk.
Essay Art Essay Examples Nowserving co Comparison Essay Template Sample Essay Comparing Two Poems.