– by David Morgan-Brown
The Australian Revelation Series continues its cinematic screenings of Australian classics that could always do with a little more exposure with the Backlot showing The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, the 1978 revenge film that has shocked and startled audiences since its release and hopefully will do so again on March 21st when it’s screened.
This challenging film starts off nice enough with young half-Aboriginal half-white young man, Jimmie Blacksmith (Tommy Lewis) taking up a series of fence-building jobs, but he feels ripped off when he isn’t fairly payed. He then marries a white woman and they start a family, but Jimmie is dismayed by their very white and rather unblack baby. Jimmie is finally pushed to his limits when his employer withholds food from him and his family in an attempt to have Jimmie’s wife and child separate from him. This sends Jimmie into a vengeful rage, partnering up his full-black half-brother to go on a rampage on the town and to seek refuge from the authorities in the bush. Harsh stuff, don’t expect a remake any time soon.
This provoking film is one of the great Australian films that explores the hostile relationship between the black natives and white settlers of this nation, and what makes it so good is that it doesn’t use Aborigines simply as plot-points to get across this message, but brings them to the foreground and uses a person of both races as its main character.
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is a pure Aussie classic due to the importance of its themes and the harrowing style in which it portrays this disturbing, yet perhaps cathartic vengeance. Be sure to catch this on the big screen at the Backlot, where the actress that plays Jimmie’s wife, Angela Punch McGregor, will be present to give a Q&A after the screening. The film starts at 6:30pm, get your tickets here, and check out the trailer below.