DRAMA; 1hr 27min
STARRING: Shai Pittman, Marcia Langton, Quinaiha Scott
Struggling to start afresh: Pittman
Released from prison with no place to go but an Aboriginal women’s shelter, Karen (Pittman) drifts around Port Adelaide, South Australia, for a bit before checking in — but not before encountering her estranged mother (Langton), who slaps her face by way of a greeting. The shelter is a buffer zone that Karen sure can use: with no job skills and a history of drug abuse, it’s the only tangible thing she has going while she builds a plan to reconnect with the little daughter (Scott) she hasn’t seen in years.
By laying out how tough indigenous people can do it, writer-director Beck Cole’s screenplay, sensitively shot by her husband, director Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah), also honours the stubborn flame of their spirit. The cast members are mostly newcomers and their performances are nothing flash, with the dialogue often invasively strained. But every minute is achingly sincere. And for Karen and women like her, alienated from their families and worn down by a legacy of defeat they refuse to perpetuate, any voice is a brave beginning.