Returning Home

On 13 January 2004, Molly Kelly died in her sleep at Jigalong. The Age report on her death named Kelly as 'the heroine of the film Rabbit-Proof Fence', validating the important role the film played in bringing the largely 'hidden' story of Kelly's epic journey to public attention. Here, Molly's journey is described as one that 'ranks as one of the most remarkable feats of endurance, cleverness and courage in Australian history'.46 In this way, we can say that the film has achieved the director/producer's aim of'recovering stolen histories'. But in an important way the report also draws attention to what is not recoverable, or what we would call the 'unspeakable' aspects of this remarkable story. In the first paragraph we learn that despite all Molly's incredible strengths, including her cleverness and outstanding ability to endure physical pain and deprivation, indeed despite the film's phenomenal success both at home and internationally, which has made Molly Kelly a national heroine, 'she died with one regret: she was never re-united with the daughter taken from her 60 years ago'. It is precisely this aspect of Molly Kelly's life that brings us to the traumatic dimensions of Rabbit-Proof Fence.

So far we have shown how Rabbit-Proof Fence grafts the political-historical drama genre onto the romance-quest to create a compelling story that invokes and at the same time reworks many of the themes, conventions and melodramatic aspects of the Australian cultural tradition of the lost child or lost in the bush narratives. This mix of historical realism and the romance-quest works exceptionally well in the final act where it is integrated with Indigenous aspects of the narrative. On the precipice of death from starvation and physical exhaustion, Molly, the heroine, summons the strength to pull herself back and make the final leg of the journey home to her mother and community. The film suggests that this strength derives from the mother's and grandmother's traditional 'singing', the two women 0 camped on the outskirts of their country beside the fence. The heroine is , also awakened and revitalised by the sound of a bird call - her traditional t

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