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Year: 1990

Classification: G

Runtime: 17 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Tracey Moffatt

Produced By: Penny McDonald

Language: English

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NIGHT CRIES – a story of a white woman and her adopted Aboriginal daughter, told with vibrantly coloured landscapes and a richly constructed soundscape. The film is in part a response by visual artist Tracey Moffatt to Charles Chauvel's celebrated feature film, JEDDA (1955).

Shot totally in a studio, the film explores the relationship between an Aboriginal woman and her white mother. The daughter, now the sole carer for her dying mother, dreams of faraway places.

During her tending of the old woman, we feel her frustration with her filial responsibilities, her suppressed anger, her own need for warmth and love, her personal loneliness. Her memories and dreams invade her nerve-fraying routine until the old woman dies and we share the daughter's immense sense of loss.

Much of the power of the film lies in the artificially created, vibrantly coloured landscape and carefully constructed soundscape. The environment contributes another personality: an unbending, unchanging force.

'Moffatt draws together the elements of autobiographical material with a razor-sharp insight into issues of contemporary history with a vibrant sense of the cinematic.' - Anne Rutherford, Artlink.

'A breathtaking, visual film . . . It attacks and disturbs with its blunt political advocacy and touches emotionally in its gentler moments on faltering human relationships. It is proof of a new Australian filmmaking sensibility at work.' - Scott Murray, Cinema Papers.

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