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Year: 1984

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G

Runtime: 51 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: David MacDougall, Judith MacDougall

Produced By: David MacDougall, Judith MacDougall

Language: English

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Constructed as a series of vignettes of station life, the film focuses particularly on the relationship between Sunny Bancroft, the station manager, and a 16-year-old trainee, Shane Gordon. The episodes are linked by Sunny's reflections on learning the hard way from experience, and from the lessons taught him by his father.

With intertitles to introduce each episode, the film is eloquent in its depiction of Sunny's patient approach to managing his horses and training young Shane: "I believe in kindness to everything and everyone. If you be kind to something it'll be kind back".

Some vignettes have a Tati-like simplicity of observation, for example when young Shane tries to untangle a bridle with one hand while holding a frisky horse with the other, or when Sunny patiently attempts to get a recalcitrant paint-spraying machine to work.

The film is, above all, an invaluable observation of the personal dynamics within a working cattle station, and within the Aboriginal community that operates the station.

It is one of four documentaries that the MacDougalls made at Collum Collum. See also SUNNY AND THE DARK HORSE, COLLUM CALLING CANBERRA and A TRANSFER OF POWER.

English language

Photography by David MacDougall
Sound by Judith MacDougall

An AIAS Film Unit production - 1984

Ronin Films wishes to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that this film may contain images and voices of deceased persons.