In My Blood It Runs | GFC Review
Every Monday, 12 young film lovers head to our cinema under the stars at Lotterywest Films to take in the best international cinema has to offer.
As aspiring cinephiles, we wanted to know what they thought of the flicks.
Check out the reviews by Ainslie & Mia about the eye-opening tale, In My Blood It Runs.
'Dujuan's uplifting story of resilience should inspire us all to do better' - Ainslie
Watching Arrernte/Garrwa ten year old Dujuan navigate the dichotomous edge of two strikingly different worlds – those of western institutions, contrasted with over over 60,000 years of traditional teachings – was truly eye-opening.
We are invited into Dujuan's home and school, where we see an intimate portrayal of a family embodying strength and determination to reconcile western systems while nurturing the language, tradition and stories of their culture. The deep trust between filmmaker and subjects was palpable throughout the film, as Maya Newell approached the story with warmth and sincerity – without which I feel it would have been a very different film.
Dujuan shares with us his wisdom and thoughtful comprehension of Australia's complex past, with truly remarkable insight. Contrasted with his failing school grades, one can't help but feel that the western educational system could be doing more to nurture holistic learning from our kids, and to teach them about Australia's remarkable history antedating the last 200 years. As Dujuan's grandmother shares, "I want our kids to grow up learning in both ways."
The film gives us a snapshot into contemporary life as an Aboriginal child in Alice Springs. For a story centred around a ten year old, it sure did approach some significant themes. Welfare, education, justice, and health were interconnected elements of Dujuan's story, and I think it is really important to consider the complicated impact of these systems on our children. Dujuan assisting his family with controlled burning practices at one point in the film was another particularly relevant insight.
The film poignantly features archival footage of the historical indignant treatment of Aboriginal people, and we as the audience reflect on the cruel mistakes of the past. However I couldn't help but think while watching this film, that I sincerely hope in ten years time we look back at In My Blood It Runs and feel the same shock and appreciation that we have drastically improved our educational practices to be more culturally secure.
I would recommend In My Blood It Runs as not only essential viewing for those involved in our educational, judicial and welfare systems, but for all Australians. I believe that the more insight we have into the lives of others, the more informed, compassionate and understanding we become as a society. Ultimately, Dujuan's uplifting story of resilience should inspire us all to do better.
'It is people like young Dujuan that encourage us to listen and respect the voices of First Nation’s people' - Mia
In My Blood It Runs highlights the resilience, strength and beauty of First Nation’s children living in the face of adversity. Directed by Maya Newell and crafted in collaboration with the Arrernte community over three years, this project follows a close-knit family struggling to navigate their way through a network of systems designed without any regard for their situation.
The film intimately examines Dujuan, an assured 10-year-old Arrernte child who demonstrates a complex understanding of his own culture. Despite speaking three languages and his undeniable display of intelligence, he is deemed a failure by the mainstream education system and made to feel incompetent at school. Dujuan and his class learn in depth about Captain Cook and the settlement of Australia, while stories of Aboriginal significance such as the Dreaming are introduced in only a perfunctory manner. Absent is any mention of a shared history and the First Nation voice is completely removed from the national narrative. Throughout the documentary Dujuan attends multiple schools and becomes increasingly disengaged and irritated. His teachers label him as "difficult" and "distracted", failing to understand the damaging effect of what is an inherently prejudiced Western curriculum.
Despite all of this, Dujuan still finds the space to be creative and curious, as he dreams of a future in which he can achieve systemic change from within a fundamentally broken structure. He speaks with autonomy and unbridled passion, bringing an overwhelming desire to share his truth. In the closing line of the film Dujuan says, “I just want to be me, and what I mean by me is an Aborigine.” It is people like young Dujuan that encourage us to listen and respect the voices of First Nation’s people.
In My Blood It Runs shows at Lotterywest Films from 3 - 9 Feb, BOOK NOW.