Bran Nue Dae
Have you ever seen an Aboriginal Musical Comedy? Nope? Well I hadn’t either until I turned up at The Barbican Centre on Thursday evening to see Bran Nue Dae as part of the London Australian Film Festival. I knew a lot about the film prior to seeing it, undoubtedly this was because one of the main characters was played by my favourite Australian ever: Missy Higgins.
The plot is fairly straightforward. A young guy, Willie, runs away from his religious boarding school in Perth trying to get back to his home town of Broome. (These are Australian places for those who are a little clueless) He runs into his wayward Uncle Tadpole on his first night on the run and the two of them join forces to make the journey home. Without money (Tadpole is a bit of an alcoholic) they manage to guilt trip two backpackers into giving them a lift to Broome which is “just up the road”.
Missy Higgins plays Annie, a crazy hippy chick with a slightly more prudent German boyfriend. Missy’s not the only well known singer to appear in the film, Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy and another Aussie Singer (whose been likened to Elvis) Dan Sultan also have major roles. The head teacher of the boarding school who chases after Willie is played by Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of The Carribean), whilst Ernie Dingo takes the role of Tadpole. Oh, and Magda Szubanski cameos as a weird shop owner with a gun.
Songs are used throughout the film to aid the plot and generally make you smile. Whilst the two songs Missy sings on (The stunning Afterglow, and her duet with Ernie Dingo on Feel Like Going Back Home) are really lovely, the one lyric that has really stuck in my head is “There’s nothing I would rather be, than to be an aborigine”. It’s a more comical song that resulted in an interesting dance routine on screen with choreographed, synced leg kicking.
At the end of the film, Willie predictably returns home to get the girl of his dreams Roxy (Mauboy) and then there’s a bit of a twist that is rather hilarious. I shan’t ruin it for you as I genuinely recommend this film to you all and think you should watch it. Admittedly it’s not going to ever make it to general release here. Nor will it be out on DVD. But if you ever get the chance to watch it, DO.
Oh, I feel I have to add a few words about what else happened at this screening. I met Tim Minchin. Hence the photo. He had introduced the film and hung around. He was talking with friends about how they were going to arrange themselves into cars to get home when we interrupted and got a photo with him. He was very sweet and called my rather large, slow camera “Old School”. He also trod on my foot.
But yes… Bran Nue Dae is my new favourite film. It should be yours too.