The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

  |  Biography, Crime, Drama


The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) Poster

Jimmie Blacksmith, the son of an Aboriginal mother and a white father, falls victim to much racist abuse after marrying a white woman, and goes on a killing spree and finds himself on the run in the aftermath.


7.3/10
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  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

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29 March 2005 | ptb-8
5
| a very black song...
This film from 1978 as directed by Fred Schipisi of SIX DEGREES fame and of Thomas Keneally's book - he wrote SCHINDLER'S LIST - is a grim and disturbing depiction set during colonial 19th century Australia of a young Aboriginal man's descent into frustrated violence against his white English landowner masters. It becomes a really brutal film with explicit axe murders, especially against young girls and older women, and it is this visually distressing depiction that ultimately alienated the cinema audience. Jimmy's humiliation and cruel treatment is equally explicit and it is a relentless string of unhappy experiences by his inhumane 'boss' that ultimately causes him to crack - and hack. As a novel it is all in the mind of the reader but as a cinemascope color film, the 'running amok with an axe' sequences make any crowd want to run from the cinema. It was not seen on TV in Australia for almost 20 years and it is not likely to be either without most of the violence cut out, thus blunting the heavy handed message and the ultimate impact. Like poor Jimmy himself, the film version is in no man's land either. Past all that, it is a well made film and with an excellent cast; but very tough going. It fits well into a series of very sharply observed Australian films depicting the British colonial mind and its misunderstanding or cruelty towards Aboriginies: JEDDA in 1956, WALKABOUT in 1970, this film in 1978, RABBIT PROOF FENCE in 2001 and THE TRACKER in 2003. Each and every one are unique and excellent in their story. This one however, is the most violent which does derail its message. White urban Australia run amok is hilarious in a 1966 comedy THEY'RE A WEIRD MOB or demented boozy antics in THE ADVENTURES OF BARRY MCKENZIE in 1972... and alarmingly, horrifyingly realistic, soaked in beer bullets fists and dead kangaroos blood in Ted Kotcheff's superb 1971 drama OUTBACK. See the lot! It is a head-shaking but enlightening string of films, especially if seen in chronological order....like we all did! (may explain why our film makers in the 90s made musicals)

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