Film Page: The State vs. The Family
If only there were more films like this! This top quality film highlights an evil of the State that actually occurred but at its center the film is about a courageous quest for liberty worthy of Tolkien. In 1931 Australia, it is the official policy of the government that all "half-caste" children (half Aborigine, half white) are to be taken from their families and raised by the State. When three young girls (aged 14, 10 and 8) are taken 1200 miles from their home, they escape and determine to make the epic journey back across desert and wilderness with no resources and with the minions of the State on their trail. The film is notable for the sincere good intentions of the Chief Protector of the Aborigine Populace, Mr. Neville (Kenneth Branagh) and the cleverness and bravery of the 14 year old that leads the escape, Molly (Everlyn Sampi). A libertarian aspect of Molly's story (a true one) that most reviewers seem to have missed is that the breakdown between those who aid the girls and those who seek to recapture them is not a racial one. The Aboriginal tracker Moodoo (David Gulpilil) who works for the government tries just as hard to recapture the girls as the whites. Conversely, whites independent of the government are glad to help the children on their way. Mr. Neville's chilling words sum up the view of the ruthless social engineer: "We face an uphill battle with these people - especially the Bush natives - who have to be protected against themselves. If they would only understand what we are trying to do for them." See this review.