rabbit proof fence
Whille there are definitely a lot of issues that were brought up throughout the film, one that I found particularly interesting was the issue of the audience and empathy. While I'm not sure that we specifically discussed this on Thursday I think it is something that is very important to think about.
When Molly and the other two girls were being taken away in the car and they were crying and the mothers and grandmother were crying I felt a lot of empathy for the characters in the film. While I continued to watch the film I thought about whether this was problematic. Obviously, if there is something sad in a film with which you can somewhat relate you will feel empathy. However, is it problematic for the filmmaker to encourage this kind of empathy from a group of people who probably have no real connections the destructive power dynamics that were at play to create the situation that occurred in Australia during this time.
The more I thought about it, the more I decided that it absolutely is problematic. In some ways this film was very helpful, but it also limited its educational-ability by making itself overly accesible to the mainstream audience. I say this because in watching the film almost anyway is going to feel empathy for the characters in one or more of the situations. We have to think though about what empathy as a feeling really does for us. Does it cause us to push further the ideas and the situation? or does it sort of pacify us into a feeling of "that was wrong and I am sad"?
I can relate to the film because I have had a somewhat problematic family history, but if I were Molly I wouldn't want someone in my position to say "I know how she feels/felt, that is terrible" and I think that the film encourages that reaction. Rather, I think it's important to acknowledge that the situation was sad but then move on to look at the ways that massive structural dynamics allowed for the oppression of a particular group of people based on their skin color, language, and a few other factors... I guess what I'm arguing is that empathy is sort of a pacifying component which can be drawn out in a mainstream audience through images (similar to what Anja was discussing) that draw on the collective conscious and general understandings of human needs.