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KABBARLI: A FILM ABOUT DAISY BATES

Australia, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Australian Showcase)

Director: Andrew Taylor

Kabbarli sheds light on a peculiar moment of colonial superiority sheltering under a lace parasol. The film's subject, Irish-born Daisy Bates, spent more than 30 years living with Aboriginal tribes on the Nullarbor Plain. In spite of being lauded as a Florence Nightingale figure, her story has always sparked controversy. Believing Aborigines to be a dying people, the 60-year-old monarchist wanted to assist their decline' with dignity - advising and feeding them, yet never far from her own paternalistic conceit.

Kabbarli presents Daisy Bates with all the ambivalence and malevolence, controversy and compassion, that encircled her real life. This is in part achieved through infusing the documentary material with delicately handled reconstructions of some of Bates more poignant moments with both Aboriginals and whites: especially reporter Ernestine Hill, who tracked down Bates in the desert in the 30s. In the title role is veteran film and television actor Lynne Murphy - a face easily recognised from The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992), Puberty Blues (1981) and Number 96 (1972) - offering a portrait of a complex figure in Australian history.

Andrew Taylor (director) is a guest of the Festival

Andrew Taylor (born in Melbourne) made short and experimental films in Melbourne and Japan before moving to Sydney to study cinematography at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. His AFTRS shorts, Heart of Pearl and Concrete Flesh, were both nominated for AFI Awards. Kabbarli is his first feature film.

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