Film adaptation of the musical Bran Nue Day

Film adaptation of the musical Bran Nue Day
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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This clip introduces Willy (Rocky McKenzie), the lead character; Rosie (Jessica Mauboy), his love interest; Lester (Dan Sultan), his romantic rival; and Willy’s mother Theresa (Ningali Lawford-Wolf). Torn between his love for Rosie and a strong sense of responsibility to fulfil his mother’s dream of having a priest in the family, Willy struggles with his future as suave musician Lester vies for Rosie’s attention.

Notes by Liz McNiven


Unlike many of the other examples focused on in this collection, Bran Nue Day is a musical packed with numbers that are sung by the film's characters and which advance the plot. The music here does not function subliminally or as underscore. It is the basis of the entire scene, sung and acted out in a highly choreographed and synchronised performance by the actors themselves. These sorts of sequences suggest a place of transcendence, where time stands still and the everyday disappears in a whirl of music. But the frank sexual subject matter explained through the lyrics also speaks directly to the love triangle unfolding between Rosie, Willy (whose too shy to express his feelings) and the older and more confident Lester. The music assists in shaking up their dynamic and suggesting thoughts and intents that might not be said through dialogue alone.

As is typical of the genre, Bran Nue Day is an adaptation of a stage musical. The original script and music was written by Jimmy Chi (1990). The film version stars famous singers such as Jessica Mauboy, Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan, all of whom perform Chi's original songs.

Additional notes by Johnny Milner



Production company:
Robyn Kershaw Productions
Robyn Kershaw and Graeme Isaac
Rachael Perkins
Rachel Perkins, Reg Cribb and Jimmy Chi
Based on the stage musical with original songs:
Jimmy Chi, Kuckles, PatrickDuttoo Bin Amat, Garry Gower, Michael Manolis Mavromatis and Stephen Pigram