Aboriginal Representation in Film.

Essay by ol_smurf October 2005

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"What comprises the dynamic effect of a painting? The eye follows the direction of an element in the painting. It retains a visual impression, which then collides with the impression derived from following the direction of a second element. The conflict of these directions forms the dynamic effect in apprehending the whole."

(Sergei Eisenstein: 1929)

Eisenstein writes about the art of painting and gives an explanation of where the final product of a painting comes from. Like paintings, films are a product of art. Possibly the highest form of art, as they include a combination of visual, sound and aesthetic materials. As an artist, Tracey Moffatt has produced several films which deal with the politics of Aboriginality and make sure that the viewer is an active audience member. As a member of the Australian Aboriginal community herself, Tracey Moffatt expresses her ideas and thoughts about Aboriginality through her commended works.

I will look at two of Tracey's films and discuss the major themes visible within them and how these themes are developed through her personal film making techniques.

Born in Brisbane, Tracey Moffatt grew up with a Non-Aboriginal foster family but, still had connection and communication with her Aboriginal relatives. She went to Art school but studied film. After travelling through Europe and moving to Sydney she became involved in independent film making. Her debut, Nice Coloured Girls won the prize for the Most Innovative Film at the 1988 Festival of Australian Film and Video. (A. Rutherford: 1988). This essay will look at the films Nice Coloured Girls and Night Cries. Tracey Moffatt is an auteur. The importance we give to a film director is the notion, "the artist and his creation" (A. Martin: 1979, p64). Tracey's work has a stamp that allows us as an audience to recognise it...