Bran Nue Dae

In her second time at the Sundance Film Festival, Rachel Perkins brings to the screen an adaptation of Jimmy Chi’s popular stage musical Bran Nue Dae, which was a national hit in Australia. It’s the summer of 1969, and with his evangelical mother pointing him toward the priesthood, earnest young Willie (Rocky McKenzie) attends a Catholic boarding school in Perth but, protesting its strict rules, runs away to his homeland. With Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush) in hot pursuit, he heads back to Broome, acquiring traveling companions along the way.

With songs and dances rooted in traditional Aboriginal performance, blues, rock and roll, Hollywood musicals, and the rituals of the Roman Catholic Mass, Willie sings and dances his way back to his own land and inspires the people around him to find their own truth. The colors of Aboriginal Australia shimmer in this wonderfully exuberant film, giving viewers a joyful romp while simultaneously touching on Aboriginal history and politics in a way that leaves us all wanting to be Aborigines.

The Sapphires

1968 was the year the planet went haywire. All around the globe, there were riots and revolution in the streets. There were hard drugs, soft drugs, free love and psychedelic music. There was the shock of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations.
And dominating every other news story. There was Vietnam.
For four gorgeous young women from a remote Aboriginal mission, 1968 was the year that changed their lives forever. Sisters Gail, Julie and Cynthia, together with their cousin Kay, are discovered by Dave, a down-on-his-luck Irish musician with attitude, a taste for Irish Whiskey and an ear for Soul Music. Dave steers the girls away from their Country & Western origins then flies them to the war-zones of South Vietnam, where they sing Soul Classics for the American Marines. On tour in the Mekong Delta, the girls sing up a storm, dodge bullets. And fall in love. [Synopsis courtesy of Cannes Film Festival]