My first encounter with Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence was in a textbook of an
English course in 7th grade at my German high school. Although we did not watch the movie, we learned about Aborigines and the way they were and are treated through white settlers. That is why I was delighted to finally have the chance to see this movie.
The first thing I noticed while watching was right at the beginning of the film: We learn about the spirit bird that the Aborigines believe will look after Molly, whenever she is in trouble. Overall, personification of nature could be noticed: Before the police arrives, a horse neighs and warns the family. When being chased by the Tracer, the rain makes their traces disappear. However, nature seems to be one of their biggest opponents as well, they almost die while walking through the deserts. Of course it is a historical condition rather than an element of film, but it is pretty ironic that their only guide for finding their way home is the rabbit-proof fence, which was basically built by white settlers to prevent the spread of imported rabbits.
The first impression of A.O. Neville (or Mr.Devil) is negative: He is screening a presentation in front of a bunch of old ladies about how he wants to bred out indigenous heritage over three generations and is more concerned with the rising price of police transportation, rather than well-being of the girls.He also thinks the natives must be helped. However, we also meet a lot of helpful people with empathy along the way, white settlers as well as Aborigines, but also anti-heroes like Mr. Neville, the Tracer and Riggs that sold them out.
Throughout the film I noticed the low camera-angle: It wants us to see through the eyes of Gracie and her sister and capture the world as they see it: Dominance of whites and powerlessness.
I really liked the film, because it had an interesting plot, raised an issue that a lot of people did not know about and finally, because it not only used Aborigine actors, but also Aborigine language and instruments (Didgeridoo in the background). We learned about their culture, their relationship to nature and their history, which made this movie entertaining and educating at the same time.