A powerfully poignant film, Phillip Noyce’s “Rabbit-Proof Fence” would be compelling on its own, but it becomes even more devastating when you learn that it’s based largely on a true story. In order to best appreciate the film, it’s important to understand its context and setting. So, here are a couple of resources for you (in addition to those we accessed in class):
This is a highly complex issue and it is difficult to relate to in our time, but it was just more than 40 years ago that the practice of Aboriginal relocation and assimilation was officially abolished in Australia. This film is based on the experiences of three children who were taken away from their mothers in Western Australia. Here’s more information specifically about the film:
Finally, we’re going to examine this film in terms of setting, conflict, characterization and the theme of perseverance. One of the main thematic elements of the film and the story is that it can be viewed as a kind of hero’s journey. In order to understand each of these concepts better, please reference these links:
• Hero’s Journey:
A challenging heroic journey
To begin our thematic unit focusing on the concept of heroes and quests, we’ll be watching Phillip Noyce’s 2002 film “Rabbit-Proof Fence.” An important trait of good literature is that it allows us to safely and intelligently grapple with difficult issues, to empathize with people who find themselves in challenging situations, and to make changes in our own thinking that may impact ourselves and others in the days to come. This is one of those stories. While some poetic license has been taken by the film makers, this film closely follows the real-life accounts of the aboriginal girl, Molly Craig. In fact, the novel on which this film is based was written by Doris Pilkington – Craig’s daughter – who was also taken from her mother as a child and relocated into a colonial, white school.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit. In order to really understand and appreciate the complexity of this story, we need to do a little research to establish some context. Otherwise, this story and this film will not bring to us the richness that it holds and that we deserve. Please open the Webquest document on the Google Classroom and follow the instructions as directed. Be prepared to share your findings with your small group and possibly with the whole class. Never heard of Australia’s Rabbit-Proof Fence? Here’s some quick info:
Did you know that you have free access to some of the most amazing online databases because you’re a student here at MTHS? Check out this super-secret (okay, not really) listing of these resources, the usernames and passwords.
The Stolen Generation, including (Part 2) Australia’s prime minister speaks on the inaugural “Sorry Day” in 2008
A feature on the making of “Rabbit Proof Fence”