Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy: A baby cries

Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy: A baby cries
Tracey Moffatt and Roslyn Oxley Gallery
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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A mother sits holding her daughter, cradling her on her lap. A soft light falls over them. Beyond the light is darkness. Then the woman, now older, lies on her back, her daughter in a foetal position curled by her side. There is only the sound of an iron lung, and the crying of a baby.

This scene, perhaps more than any other, revisits Chauvel’s Jedda. The white mother and Aboriginal baby side by side – both though are now older. The daughter, reaching up to cover the old woman’s face, tells us that the old woman is dead. And perhaps with the passing of the old woman, a part of the daughter dies also. Again reminiscent of Jedda, when Jedda exclaims to Marbuck, if you die, I shall die too. This scene speaks of a dependency – though one forged perhaps unintentionally and regretfully – it is a relationship none the less.

Summary by Romaine Moreton.