MDFF Review: Who Would You Tell?

Who Would You Tell?

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Directed by Dery Sultana

Review by Gavin Bond

This appropriately titled documentary is yet another sobering and chilling account of child abuse. 

Who Would You Tell? chronicles the tragic true story of a family of post-war migrant children who were sent down under from Malta to orphanages in Western Australia.

The three Maltese youths travelled by ship to Fremantle in 1960 to escape the ravages of the Second World War and were taken in by the Catholic Church and housed in the Castledare Boys’ home in Tardun.

It was there that the boys received an education and were then farmed out as labourers on local farms.

On top of being subjected to slave labour, the boys were also victims of constant sexual abuse by the residing priests in the orphanage.

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It wasn’t until the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2017 that these victims got to publicly share their stories and help uncover the extent of the conspiracies and receive public apologies and resultant compensation.

Who Would You Tell? consists of achingly honest interviews with the surviving brothers who graphically describe their horrific experiences and their resultant psychological and physical trauma.

The film also features interviews with Government officials and the clergy from Malta who reflect on the incidents and the failure of authorities to investigate the abuses.

Director Dery Sultana has crafted an emotionally affecting documentary that not only boldly brings to light this disturbing chapter in Australian history but also examines the personal stories behind it.

Who Would You Tell? is screening as part of the 7th Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. The festival runs from the 1st -31st July Online and the 21st – 31st July 2022 In-Cinema at Cinema Nova as part of Documentary Month.

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