Simple, powerful documentary


Simple, powerful documentary

Blackman's Houses
A film directed by Steve Thomas
Screened during the Jump Cut Film Festival, at Lumiere and FTI Cinemas
Reviewed by Anthony Benbow

Blackman's Houses is a documentary filmed on Flinders Island. It shows what happens when a group of local Aborigines take action to reclaim the grave site where many of their ancestors are buried.

Flinders Island was the site of a "village" established early last century by the British invaders, where the last of Tasmania's Aborigines were forcibly resettled. Taken from their natural surroundings and made to build and live in damp and crowded cottages, many died. Almost 80% of them perished before the "experiment" was abandoned as a failure.

Nearly 200 years on, the taking back of the grave site generates much backlash among the island's white community. Interviews with descendants on both sides reveal that, when it comes to black-

white relations, memory does not always match history.

Powerful in its simplicity, Blackman's Houses demands to be seen. The film clearly shows that prejudice and discrimination have changed little in the past 200 years.