7 January 2010 | AtomicAce
Aboriginal musical romp - Great cast, catchy tunes, good fun
BRAN NUE DAE (aboriginal speak for "Brand New Day") is a joyous musical romp which celebrates Australia's indigenous culture. The movie tells the story - in song, dance and dialogue - of an aboriginal boy's escape from a Catholic boarding school in Perth in the 1960s and misadventures with hippies (Missy Higgins and Tom Budge) and Uncle Tadpole (Ernie Dingo) in a "Kombi" Campervan on his journey back to his sweetheart in hometown, Broome, pursued by the relentless Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush).
In the 1990s, I had enjoyed the stage musical written by Broome musician/playwright, Jimmy Chi, but was intrigued as to how it might be adapted to the big screen. I was not disappointed. Director Rachel Perkins does a fine job of retaining the exuberance of the stage production while incorporating new elements that only cinema can provide. Like most road comedies, BRAN NUE DAE revolves around a series of skits, most of which are very funny. The cast are excellent, especially Ernie Dingo and Jessica Mauboy, with suitably over-the-top performances by Geoffrey Rush, Deborah Mailman and Magda Szubanski. The tunes are catchy and infectious.
BRAN NUE DAE touches lightly upon aboriginal rights issues, but mostly it is good old fashioned vaudevillian fun. Go see it!