Sunday Shorts: Nangana

Googoorewon Knox in Nangana.

Written and Directed by Jamie Murray
Produced by Marie-Stella McKinney
Starring Googoorewon Knox, Judd English and Anthony Thomas

Two brothers hunt for foxes on a remote farm in rural Australia. They’ve been out there for weeks however and still haven’t seen a single fox. When they receive a surprise invitation to dinner with the enigmatic farm owner, the question of what they’re really doing out there turns into a dangerous puzzle.

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Article written by Jamie Murray

Nangana is an allegory: high in metaphor, low in reality; a film rife with questions that offers few answers, and when the answers do come they come in disguise. The objective for me was to effectively dangle the carrot, avoid spoon feeding anyone anything, and constantly remind myself that there’s a difference between ambiguity and confusion.

The film explores the relationship between logic and belief. It’s a cautionary tale, a modern fable that presents this universal theme in a uniquely Australian setting. The rationalist materialist philosophy of the West is offset by the mysticism of Indigenous Knowledge and we see to what extent the two are compatible. While the theme is big, the story is small.

Judd English in Nangana.

Set against the backdrop of the Australian fox cull, we hunt with two brothers at ideological odds. One spots and one shoots, one draws and one writes, one is black and one is white.  They are polar opposites yet entirely co-dependent. Nangana is an aboriginal word meaning “to see”and while the film takes this literally at times, what is really on offer is a meditation on “how we see the world”- our perspective.

To tackle such themes without the appropriate amount of education on my behalf would make for an inauthentic on screen experience;  something I was determined to avoid. So as my research extended to the origins of Australia’s fox problem, the thematic underpinnings of Nangana grew from simply an exploration of logic and belief to a more overtly colonialist allegory; a film that discusses the impact of European settlement on a pre-existing ecosystem.

Regardless of what side of the political divide you find yourself on in 2018, it can be agreed that Australia has traditionally had a hard time facing the facts of it’s  history. Nangana hopes to aid in remediating this lack of discourse.

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