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LORD OF THE BUSH

Australia, 1990 (MIFF 1990, Documentaries)

Director: Tom Zubrycki

This new film from Tom Zubrycki (Kemira - Diary of a Strike, Friends and Enemies) was made for ABC and Channel Four television. Set in Broome the film is a study in the late '80s ambivalence over questions of development. The Lord of the Bush is Lord McAlpine, Treasurer of the British Conservative Party and prime mover in the rapidly escalating tourism development on Australia's North West coast.

The personality of the Lord occupies the same dominant place in the film's narrative that he occupies in the future of Broome: McAlpine's charming performance, his appreciation of cultural treasures, ancient and modern, sit comfortably with his civilized tolerance of Australia's quaint, rustic appeal.

In Broome his time is spent overseeing lush and expensive tourism development and planning other investment opportunities across the entire northern coast of Australia. Meanwhile, indigenous land owners and ordinary locals offer a variety of responses ranging from ineffective reistance, enthusiastic collaboration and appreciative gratitude for certain short term benefits they receive from his sophisticated largesse.
- (JH)

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