The Salisbury International Arts Festival in England returns at the end of May with a host of arts events covering literature, film, theatre, music and more. The Festival’s main theme this year is ‘relate’ with an artistic focus on storytelling which is reflected across all the events. Here Zap! BANG! takes a look at the festival’s films, each drawing on this year’s Aboriginal Cultural Showcase.
_ Five Seasons _
Tuesday, May 30; Friday, June 2; Saturday, June 3
Receiving its UK premiere, this documentary focuses on the Numurindi people of Australia’s Northern Territory’s Gulf of Carpentaria. They live in a culture where all things, past and present, including the weather, animal and plant kingdom are interrelated. The film explores this intricate relationship through the Nurmurindi calendar of five seasons following Moses Numamurdirdi, a senior custodian for the region. He visits dried up flood plains where saltwater crocodile perish due to a lack of water, as well as experience spectacular thunderstorms that flood roads and isolate communities.
_ Radiance _ (Rachel Perkins, 1998)
Monday, June 5
Three sisters reunite for their mother’s funeral. Cressy, the eldest of the three, is a diva – an opera singer who is reluctant to visit the past and definately doesn’t want to share it with her sisters. Mae has stayed behind looking after mum, and believes that Cressy hasn’t shared enough. nona, the youngest and the party girl, just wants them to all be one happy family. She may even help grow the family if her pregnancy test is accurate… A tale of deep and dark family secrets and personal conflicts, Radiance is a highly-regarded film in its native Australia.
_ Beneath Clouds _ (Ivan Sen, 2002)
Tuesday, June 6
Two hitchhiking Aboriginal teens meet on the long road to Sydney in this interior road film. A partly autobiographical film by Australian filmmker Ivan Sen, it mirors the clash between Lena (Dannielle Hall) and Vaughn (Damian Pitt)’s personal ideals and disappointments through land, identity and their tale-telling encounters along the way. The emphais is on journey over destination and won recognition by both the Australian Film Institute and the Berlin Film Festival.
Film enthusiast Patrick Bliss will lead a disucssion group on the visual, thematic and cultural content of each of the above, after each screening.
_ Rabbit-Proof Fence _ (Phillip Noyce, 2002)
Sunday, June 4
A winner at numerous film festivals around the world, and three awards including best film from the Australian Film Institute, this touching film is one not to be missed. It tells the story of a government policy that required ‘half-caste’ children, whose mothers were Aboriginal and whose fathers were white, to be taken from their homes by authorities and trained to work as servants. The film follows the true story of three young girls who escape from the government’s training facility and use Australia’s long stretches of rabbit-proof fence to walk over one thousand miles back to their mother. Doris Pilkington, author of the book Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, on which the film is based, will introduce the screening and tkae part in a Q&A afterwards.
For tickets and full details about Salisbury International Arts Festival visit www.salisburyfestival.co.uk or call the box office 01722 320333.