putuparri_01New to VOD via Microsoft this week:

Nicole Ma

Melbourne 2015

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, New Zealand

An aboriginal man recounts his family’s decades-long fight to regain their native claim to ancestral land.

Ma’s film focuses on Tom Lawford, whose aboriginal name is Putuparri, whose people were uprooted from their land by white Australians. While elders like his grandparents were directly affected, and have felt a longing to return for decades, younger generations like his own have been left rootless, disconnected from language and culture, and prone to drug and alcohol abuse. After the Australian government acknowledged past Aboriginal mistreatment and affirmed their sovereignty, they began hearing land claims. With his family making such a claim for their ancestral homeland of Kurtal, Putuparri experienced a reconnection with his culture, including traditional rainmaking rituals, and has since become a leader for his people. The film details how Putuparri oversaw a convergence of Aboriginals that resulted in the painting of a massive map delineating various native lands – a canvas that has traveled throughout the country and helped set boundaries for land claims. Because Kurtal itself has not been officially recognized, however, Putuparri continues his struggle. While Ma has taken on a worthwhile topic, her use of Putuparri as a narrator makes the project feel overextended as a whole, and too rooted in the past, robbing the film of a forward-moving dynamism.


Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.