The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
Wednesday 8 July at 7.30pm
Fred Schepisi│Australia│1978│108 mins│R18
A mixed-race Aboriginal man is provoked past endurance in this powerful adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s novel. “One of the most important films in all of Australian cinema, and perhaps the key critical work of that country’s internationally acclaimed film movement of the 1970s, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is nothing short of a masterpiece – a bracing and emotionally wrenching study of the effects of institutionalised racism and colonialism on a land’s indigenous peoples, and an unflinching look at the repercussions of violence for both aggressors and victims.
Based on the early 20th-century exploits of Jimmy Governor, Jimmie Blacksmith follows its title character, a half-Aboriginal, half-white young man attempting to make his way as a farmhand, but facing only prejudice and deception from society. When the parentage of his child is called into question and he is further robbed by his white employers, Jimmie’s barely suppressed rage explodes, triggering a wave of violence that would shock a nation. Directed by Fred Schepisi (Six Degrees of Separation) from a Booker-nominated novel by Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith stands alongside The Harder They Come and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song as one of the most powerful 1970s cinema explorations of rebellion and uprising, and the costs that are paid on both sides. Called “the one great Australian film that I have seen” by Pauline Kael, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is a powerful experience.” — Masters of Cinema