Jedda: Dreaming again

Jedda: Dreaming again
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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Jedda (Ngarla Kunoth), sitting by an open window, gazes out dreamily. Her adoptive mother (Betty Suttor), eventually comes to stand by her side. Jedda tells her of her desire to go walkabout, to be with the tribe. She is chastised by her adoptive mother, who warns her against the primitive ways of the Aborigines, calling them monkeys.

This sequence begins with Jedda gazing out of the window, as though in a far-away dream. Jedda then moves to the piano at her mother’s insistence, and from this point, it is music that communicates Jedda’s inner turmoil.

Jedda (1955) is probably Charles Chauvel’s best film, as well as his last. It is historic both for being the first colour feature film made in Australia, but more importantly, because it is arguably the first Australian film to take the emotional lives of Aboriginal people seriously.

Romaine Moreton