Tuesday, July 2, 2024

High Ground from Australia

"High Ground" is set in the northern territories of Australia in the 1930's.  Colonists forcing the aboriginals to bend using guns and horses. 

In the beginning we see a young Gutjuk witnessing the brutal killing of his immediate aboriginal family.  He is rescued by a missionary.   Several years later he is enlisted to hunt down his own uncle who has broken the colonial law.  By other aboriginals he is labelled a missionary aboriginal.  The story demonstrates much brutality and in the end we are left that like in America the indigenous were subdued with violence and self righteous superior technology.  

The story is fictional, but It is claimed that it is based on reality.  It is similar to some westerns, but it is better labeled a northern.

It will impact you, even if you are used to American westerns.  Aside from the brutal violence between the colonizers and the aborigines, it also displays spectacular cinematography and some aboriginal music.  The cast and crew are outstanding.  Here are some of the contributors.

Stephen Johnson was the director. and an executive producer.  He has 10 directing credits, 3 for producing and one for script and continuity.  

Chris Anastassiades wrote the script.  He has 29 writing credits, 5 for Scripting and Continuity and one for acting.

Andrew Commis was the cinematographer.  He has 29 cinematography credits and 5 for camera and electrical including "The Rocket" (2013).

Jill Bilcock was an editor.  She has 40 editing credits, 3 for the editorial department and six for producing including "Moulin Rouge" (2001), "Elizabeth:  The Golden Age" (2007), "The Young Victoria" (2009), "The Dressmaker" (2015) and "A Cry in the Dark" (2022).

Anousna Zarkesh was the casting director.  She has 99 casting credits plus 24 casting department credits.  She specializes in diversity and local indigenous talent.

Jacob Junior Nayinggul plays Gutjuk caught between the colonial and aboriginal cultures.  He has 3 acting credits.

Carene Pistorius plays a missionary who speaks the local aborigine language.  She graduated from the Auckland Univesity having studied animation and illustration.  She has 18 acting credits including "The Light between Oceans" (2016).

Cullen Mulvey plays Eddie, a half caste who works with the colonial military, but is not trusted by everyone.  He was born in New Zealand and actually is part Maori.  He has 46 credits for acting and one for stunts including "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012) and "Ford vs. Ferrari" (2019).

Simon Baker played Travis, a sniper and is also one of the executive producers.    Simon was a high level surfer and water polo player.  In America he won a Prime Time Emmy award for leading actor.  He has 48 acting credits plus 4 for producing including ""The Devil Wars Prada" (2006) and "The Margin Call" (2011).

Jack Thompson played a senior colonial officer and was also an executive producer.  He was famous for a nude photo in magazine.  He also was in an open sexual relationship with two sisters for about 15 years.  He has won an acting award at the Cannes Festival in 1980.  He has 116 acting credits and 3 for producing including "Breaker Morant" (1980), "The Man from Snowy River" (1982) and "The Great Gatsby" (2013).

Around the globe nations that are modernized have been able to exploit those peoples who have been more dependent on nature.  I am like most North Americans in although I am not aware of any violent action against indigenous, but in effect I live on stolen land while also benefiting from the resources that have been extracted by many of my ancestors.  We all need to learn from and respect our neighbors and thereby better improve how we all fit in.

 This film was taken by PVR from APTN tv network.   If you can find it,  it is worth the effort unless violence really upsets you.

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