Members of the bands No Fixed Address and Us Mob collect bush tucker on the beach. Les (Les Graham), driving with Carroll (Carroll Karpanny), talks about finding his birth family.
Summary by Romaine Moreton
You can stream Wrong Side of the Road in full as part of the Buwindja collection on NFSA Player.
Music is used as a vehicle to depict the fusion of cultures experienced by Indigenous people. The collecting of the lizard on the beach, carried off in a guitar case after it is captured, is a visual metaphor for how Indigenous lived experience is informed by many cultures, challenging the illusion of a separate and sterile cultural existence.
According to director Ned Lander, Les’s search for his Aboriginal birth mother was the most significant issue the community wanted to talk about at the time of making the film and so it became the central story. Lander says, 'It was in fact a “Stolen Generation” story – it was just made before that term had been coined’.
This documentary-style drama follows the Indigenous bands Us Mob, Coloured Stone and No Fixed Address as they move from gig to gig.
rong Side of the Road has been described as ‘a road movie, a protest film, a political film, a rock film’, evolving as a collaboration between the filmmakers, the community and the musicians featured in the film. Although this film has a strong documentary feel to it, it is a constructed drama, stylistically accomplishing what would otherwise have been an interview situation with talking heads. Wrong Side of the Road was an emergent work whose themes and content evolved from workshopping the central characters, resulting in a music-driven exposé through which personal stories were woven.
Director Ned Lander has been making films with Indigenous themes since the 1970s. Wrong Side of the Road won the AFI Jury Prize in 1981.
Notes by Romaine Moreton