The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith M

Close up of a young Indigenous man talking to an older man whose face is just visible on the left. A woman is in the distance and they appear to be in an outback setting.
17 June
Arc Cinema
$12 / $10 or 5 film season pass $50 / $40
Dir: Fred Schepisi, M, Australia, 1978, 122mins, DCP,

In New South Wales in the 1890s, Jimmie Blacksmith (Tom E Lewis)  the son of an Aboriginal mother and a white father  is raised by Christian missionaries. Outside the home, he is frequently subjected to racist abuse and humiliations, which only intensify after he marries a white woman, Gilda (Angela Punch McGregor).

When Jimmie’s employer withholds his pay and provisions, Jimmie reaches breaking point. He embarks on a brutal killing spree and goes on the run with his brother Mort (Freddy Reynolds).

The film is inspired by a true story and based on Thomas Keneally’s 1972 novel, which the author now says he was wrong to try and write from a First Nations perspective. Fred Schepisi’s internationally acclaimed film screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and gives audiences an unflinching insight into the racist behaviours and raw attitudes of colonial Australia.

‘A powerful and confronting story: one of the most significant films of the 1970s film renaissance in Australia’ – Urban Cinefile 

‘A genuinely unforgettable film’  The Guardian

This film is held in the NFSA collection.


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Presented in collaboration with Umbrella Entertainment.

This film is part of the NFSA's Australian New Wave program. See the full program listing here.



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