One Night The Moon
Details: (M), 57 mins, Australia, English
Synopsis: One night, in the Australian outback in the early 1930s, a young girl steps out of her bedroom window - entranced by the beautiful, beaming moon. When her parents go to check on their sleeping child, she is nowhere to be found. The mother and father, recent settlers in the rugged landscape, spend the night looking for her. To no avail. By early morning, the father turns to the local police for help. The Sergeant suggests that Allman and their very best man, Aboriginal tracker Albert set out to find her. But the father revolts – insisting “no blackfella is to set foot on my land.” Instead, he gathers together as many white men as he can find, and conducts a line search across the desolate plains in search of the child. Albert watches helplessly as her every trace is stamped to dust. Sometime later, the daughter is still missing, and the mother makes a decision to take responsibility into her own hands, to reconcile the loss of her child. She goes to find Albert…
One Night The Moon gets right under the skin of the Australian experience.
Singer/songwriter Paul Kelly is one of Australia’s greatest and most prolific storytellers, so it was only a matter of time before he would put his stamp on the world of film. His first film as an actor – Rachel Perkins’ eloquent follow up to her acclaimed debut Radiance – has all the earthiness and sense of meaning that we’ve come to expect in his songs, and rates as a major triumph.
Told almost solely through music, and unfolded in the manner of a cinematic opera, One Night The Moon gets right under the skin of the Australian experience.
In the 1930s, a farmer and his wife (Kelly and Kaarin Fairfax) are distraught when their young daughter wanders into the bush and seemingly disappears without a trace. Even though search parties look fruitlessly, the bigoted farmer won’t let an experienced black tracker (Kelton Pell) onto his land to lead the search, and it’s up to his wife to turn the tide.
Though the story is told with an economy of words, it’s communicated with an extraordinary sense of feeling. The moving music (composed by Kelly, Kev Carmody and Mairead Hannan) drives the narrative, and the lucid, glistening cinematography by Kim Batterham frames it with striking clarity.
One Night The Moon is a potent combination of the lingering effects of history and the forceful immediacy of emotive music.
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