Wrong Side of the Road

Musician with guitar singing into a microphone.
Title:
Wrong Side of the Road
NFSA ID:
26957
Year:
1981
Category:
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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Wrong Side of the Road is based on the real-life experiences of two Aboriginal bands on the road, Us Mob and No Fixed Address, gigging between Port Adelaide and Point Pearce, SA. It is an uncompromising documentation of rock’n’roll, life on tour and racism in early 1980s Australia.

The film opens with scenes of police breaking up a performance of the two groups, arresting a band member and his subsequent escape from a police vehicle. It continues with run-ins between the musicians and the establishment.

The racism encountered when the bands turn up at a gig and the white hotel manager discovers they are black, the insensitivity of the police and bureaucrats, and the difficulties in tracing one's family after being adopted out, reflect the problems encountered by many urban Aboriginal people. Wrong Side of the Road (named after a song by Us Mob) reveals the injustices Aboriginal people constantly face.

The thread that runs through the film is the story of a young man (played by Les Graham) looking for his mother. The script encompasses the Stolen Generations and comes from the life stories of members of the bands, their friends and people at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music.

Director:
Ned Lander
Producers:
Ned Lander and Graeme Isaac
Distributor:
Ronin Films