Jedda Film Analysis

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Jedda Colonialism and Assimilation in Australian Film In this essay I will be exploring the themes of colonialism and assimilation and how it was represented throughout the 1955 Australian film Jedda, by Charles Chauvel; being the first Australian film that Aboriginal actors had taken on a protagonist role, even so far as to have the Aboriginal actors name appear first in the credits. The film is about a young Aboriginal girl, Jedda, who was orphaned as an infant and raised by the station owner’s wife, Sarah McMann. The woman was wanting to ‘civilise’ Jedda, teaching her to read and write in English, and how to play the piano instead of letting her learn the way of her tribal people by going on walkabout; finding bush tucker, and learning…show more content…
The historical setting of Jedda, I assume is within the Assimilation Policy (1951 – 196) , absorbing Aboriginal people into white society through the method of taking Aboriginal children from their families. The ultimate intent of this policy was the destruction of Aboriginal society, which makes us think, looking back at the film, I feel as if Sarah McMann did intentionally do this, the act of not allowing Jedda to be with her tribe and giving her a proper European upbringing ultimately enforced the Assimilation policy, in which offered Aboriginal people, as it is shown throughout Jedda, a chance to assimilate and stop being so culturally…show more content…
I don’t see it as an attraction to Marbuk himself; although it might have been; but the fact that he encompassed the culture that she had been torn from and was instinctively drawn to. Aboriginal people were often cast as property, being thought as less than non- Aboriginal Australians and the only way they would be accepted was to share in the ‘white’ interests, beliefs and lifestyle. Both were punished for breaking the tribal ‘Skin Law’, something of which Jedda had no idea about but was punished by the tribal females while the ‘death song’ was cursed upon Marbuk, who had known that his actions of kidnapping a young Jedda would anger the tribal elders by “taking a girl of the wrong skin.” Despite the fact Marbuk had started to lose his mind, Jedda saw him as her only protector, she knew she could not live out in the bush on her own. Upon stating that she could not survive on her own, he took it as an idea for him to kill her, so he could live, thus lifting the death song curse. I believe that if Jedda would not have been so drawn to Marbuk, the mysterious ‘savage’ man if she had not been assimilated into white culture by Sarah

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