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A LITTLE LIFE

Australia, 1988 (MIFF 1989)

Director: Deborah Howlett

Ricci Vicenti was nineteen when he was shot dead by authorities in Canning Vale Remand Centre. He was in remand on a charge involving the theft of groceries, valued at seventy-five dollars. The tower guard was found by the Coroner to have committed 'justifiable homicide' and to have acted in the course of duty, as Ricci was trying to escape when he was shot.

His death in Perth, Western Australia, in 1982, is one of ovet 100 cases which is currently being investigated by the Muirhead Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. Deborah Hewlett's treatment is a discursive celebration of Ricci's life through archival and home movie footage with on­screen testimony of Ricci's mother, and non-Aboriginal foster mother.

Far from current affairs in its approach, constructing neither simple causes nor allocating blame, it provides insights to Ricci Vicenti's individuality in an historical and social context. In so doing the film has developed its politically important story without reducing its absent, central character to simply signify 'Aboriginal'. - (JH)

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