Utopia

Utopia

DVD - 2013
Average Rating:
4
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Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. This film describes the uniqueness of the first Australians, as well as their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance - from one utopia to another. Pilger begins his journey in Sydney and Canberra, where the national parliament rises in an affluent suburb called Barton, recently awarded the title of Australia's most advantaged community. Barton is named after Edmund Barton, the first prime minister of Australia, who in 1901 introduced the White Australia Policy. 'The doctrine of the equality of man,' said Barton, 'was never intended to apply to those who weren't British and white-skinned.' He made no mention of the original inhabitants who were deemed barely human, unworthy of recognition in the first suburban utopia. A global campaign illuminated apartheid in South Africa. No such opprobrium has been directed at Australia, where black Australians are imprisoned at up to eight times the rate of blacks in apartheid South Africa. Instead, Australia's post card image is that of the 'lucky country'; and indeed few societies are as wealthy, if you leave out the original inhabitants is that of a third world country. In the town of Wilcannia, New South Wales, the average life expectancy of men is 37. This is the secret of apartheid Australia. Utopia is both a personal journey and universal story of power and resistance and how modern societies can be divided between those who conform and a dystopian world of those who do not. Utopia draws on people and places Pilger filmed 28 years ago during his long association with the indigenous people of his homeland. The evidence he produces is often deeply moving and shocking.
Publisher: Australia :, Secret Country Films,, 2013
ISBN: 9781941545089
1941545084
Characteristics: video file,DVD video,rda
digital,optical,stereo,Dolby,rda
2 videodiscs (112, 280 min.) : sound, colour ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (6 pages ) : Illustrations ; 18cm

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b
ba_library
Sep 25, 2017

Disturbing but probably timely (or about time!) documentary about the indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia. Many First Nations have negotiated agreements for their people, their property, their beliefs . . . but no such agreements have been made with the Aboriginal people. The DVD shows terrible living conditions – asbestos laden homes, disgusting rotting bathrooms, homes without basic necessities while the government office in their small town has 19 air conditioners attached to it! The film maker tells of prisons built for the black population; historically and currently. Concentration camps for Aboriginals and the sad legacy of their stolen generation. The film maker concludes that white Australia has adopted a national silence on the issue. One Australian news show had an informant, who alleges sexual abuse rings in Aboriginal towns, only to later to be disclosed by this filmmaker, the “informant” was really a government official making stuff up. Too often, people consider First Nation populations demanding large government subsidies, but looking at their lives it is apparently not enough of a handout! Docs like this make you wonder, are things any better? What are First Nation people doing for themselves? How can they succeed? Can they work together with government to improve their lives? Or have they suffered too many unfulfilled promises? Interesting documentary.

d
DrFolklore
May 15, 2017

This is an informative documentary about the abuse of indigenous people of Australia and their struggle for civil rights, from colonial times to the present. If anything, the whole process has been crueler and more heavy-handed than Canada's -- which isn't saying a lot for us. If you are interested in issues surrounding the cultural adaptations by and exploitation of indigenous people's generally, this film will help you see that the issues are worldwide and not just factors of North American history. (I've never seen a movie featuring Australia's indigenous people that couldn't have been adapted easily to Canada). One small annoyance is the film is that the narrator seems to be a tabloid journalist (with his heart in the right place though), interrupting powerful people who give him interviews, before they can answer his questions. That being said, one gets the sense that he's heard their doublespeak many times before. Utopia is a heartbreaker, but well worth watching for anyone with an interest in culture, history, and first nations issues, who likes a good documentary, or simply wants to be well informed.

d2013 Jan 07, 2017

Shocking yet powerful. Worth viewing!

l
lvon98
Oct 22, 2016

As documentaries go, simply remarkable.

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