BeDevil: You can hear it but you can't see it

Title:
BeDevil: You can hear it but you can't see it
NFSA ID:
239068
Year:
1993
Courtesy:
Tracey Moffatt and Roslyn Oxley Gallery
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following clip may contain images and voices of deceased persons
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This clip expresses the idea that 'You can’t see it, but you can hear it’. Ruby lays her ear to the train tracks upon which the ghost train passes. The clip moves through different time periods, the characters telling retrospectively of the passing of the ghost train. Summary by Romaine Moreton.

The theme of 'You can hear it but you can’t see it’, is the undercurrent of this film, and more than any other, exemplifies the confusion that occurs through the fracturing of the senses, resulting in a fracturing of place.

 

BeDevil synopsis

BeDevil, a trilogy of ghost stories, uses myth interwoven with living memory to evoke a sense of place. Told in three parts – 'Mr Chuck’, 'Choo Choo Choo Choo’, and 'Lovin’ The Spin I’m In’ – BeDevil exposes the blurred boundaries between the imagined and the real in constructing landscapes and a sense of belonging.

 

BeDevil curator's notes

The most challenging aspect of this film is also its strength.BeDevil challenges the linear time frame of Western storytelling in order to suggest the ongoing presence of entities interwoven throughout the landscape that supersede all human characters and players. Perhaps alluding to Indigenous Dreaming stories, BeDevil interrupts Western film reading tradition and as a result may alienate potential audiences.BeDevil polarised critics – some saying it is a failure, others a cinematic masterpiece.

Moffatt is credited as being the first Aboriginal woman to make a feature film, and the style of BeDevil is reminiscent of her short film Night Cries – A Rural Tragedy. Moffatt prefers to be addressed as an 'artist’ rather than an 'Aboriginal artist’. Moffatt’s other audiovisual work includes Heaven (1997), Lip (1999), Nice Coloured Girls (1987), and Night Cries (1990).

Notes by Romaine Moreton

Production company:
Anthony Buckley Films
Producer:
Carol Hughes, Anthony Buckley
Director:
Tracey Moffatt
Writer:
Tracey Moffatt