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Examine the Southern Cross
Warwick Thornton, the award-winning internationally renowned director, screenwriter and cinematographer, got himself into trouble a few years ago by saying that the symbol of the Southern Cross (one of the most distinctive constellations visible in the Southern Hemisphere) was becoming the new swastika. It was a controversial statement that gave Warwick the idea for his film; We Don't Need a Map.
Warwick teamed up with fellow film-maker Brendan Fletcher to bring this feature-length documentary to life. The outcome is a fascinating and thought-provoking film that will give you hours of discussions for years to come. It is also worth mentioning the cinematography of the dark, night skies is breathtaking and you will raise your eyebrows and have gaping mouths.
The film starts off with a short history lesson about Captain Cook and his arrival in Australia, followed by a scientific explanation by an astronomer of the Southern Cross. There are five stars in the constellation (one is very faint) and in years to come, as the other stars start to die, the constellation will need to be renamed, perhaps to the Southern Triangle. Every day is a school day!
The documentary travels throughout Australia and asks many experts their opinions and stories of the Southern Cross. It touches on the flags of Australia, past and present, and points out there is no Southern Cross symbol on the Aboriginal flag. Why is that? You also get a glimpse into the lives of our Indigenous people and there is input from an astronomer, a rapper, a tattooist, elders and many other Australian people, all with their own opinions to air.
Bill Harney, an elder who lives in Katherine, tells his story around a roaring campfire on a stunningly clear, dark night with millions of stars to view. Bill has a mesmerising story to tell where he explains that all the stars in the Milky Way are related to all the trees, birds and animals.
He states that he 'was taught by the old people to talk about all the different stars; the Southern Cross is the important one. Beyond the Southern Cross is the water called Doarti. That's where you see the emu bending down to drink the water. When the emu lifted his feet, he put his footprints there and they became the Southern Cross'.
Another story told is the Creation Story whereby two stars, Nardi at the top and Dungdung at the bottom of the constellation, are the two that came together to create the children in Australia.
It is very difficult for some people to talk about their stories as secrecy laws exist and there are things non-initiated people are not allowed to know about, and this is why this film is so special as it gives you an insight into our wonderful Indigenous people and their culture and their beliefs of the sacred power of the Southern Cross.
The stars are a navigational tool which have been used for hundreds of years and everyone has a story about the stars and the cosmic picture they create above the Earth.
One thing I will take away after watching this film is something one of the elders said 'they (the senior elders) tell the kids about the stars, they listen. It goes in their ears and it stays there.' I love this statement and something we can all use in modern day life.
Image courtesy of wedon'tneedamapmovie.com
Luna Palace Cinemas is delighted to announce acclaimed director Warwick Thornton and Producer/director Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) will be at Luna Outdoor on February 24 for a special Q&A screening of We Don't Need a Map. Doors open 6.45pm. Film starts 8pm. Click here for tickets.
Luna Outdoor Cinema is an intimate outdoor venue with informal bean bag seating plus table and chair seating.