Reading Room > film > Carol Laseur > BeDevil

BeDevil: Colonial Images, Aboriginal Memories

Carol Laseur

The impetus for this essay was sparked by two separate, yet coincidental moments. I saw BeDevil as part of the Jump Cut festival in Perth. The following morning, in a phone conversation with a friend and colleague, I expressed my delight and enthusiasm for the way in which the film handled notions of Australian 'history' and social conscience in its captivating use of visual and aural techniques. Then, a week or so later, I attended a public forum on low-budget filmmaking and was aghast at criticisms of the film by a local critic on the panel. BeDevil and Broken Highway were cited as unworthy reflections of their $2m funding. Among other criticisms was that the makers of these films could not construct a story, and in effect had little or no sense of drama. This flew in the face of my pleasurable viewing of BeDevil. Now, this local response was echoed by others further afield. Russell Edwards, a juror at the Toronto Film Festival, shared his observations on BeDevil during the festival screening:

"The one Australian film in the bunch, Tracey Moffatt's BeDevil, I'd already seen at the Sydney Film Festival and was less than enthused, but for my own piece of mind went to see it again. Three of my fellow jurors walked out, while I found the second viewing less abrasive than the first. Maybe it's a film that grows on you. One lone juror, however, hailed Moffatt's film a masterpiece."1

The tentativeness and unease expressed here is some indication of broader reception patterns. Why is engagement with this text so difficult? What is it about BeDevil that solicits such ambiguous and strained responses on the one hand, and (to a lesser extent) celebratory zeal for such innovativeness, on the other? One of the aims of this paper is to interrogate some of these reception patterns and to question how work on and by Aboriginal people is critically received and evaluated within the community. I also want to suggest some positive points of entry for reading the film.

BeDevil signals itself as a text that sets out to disrupt normative reading practices: to confound, muddle or spoil is to enact bedevilment. What needs to be asked here is; who is bedevilled? The film's title, I'd suggest, functions dialectically in addressing content and reading positions simultaneously. On the surface the stories are expressions of bedevilment; a missing GI, a ghost train and the mystery lovers. Yet on another level the stories are an ongoing interventionist practice into a destablising of white Australian history as a master narrative. More than simply evoking a different (or 'new') set of voices, BeDevil suggests the vital and ongoing processes of cultural definition and redefinition. Each story embodies the transformation of specific historical moments. "Mr Chuck" tells of the importance of oral history. It works to deflect assimilation policy and any lingering social remnants of do-gooder intentions, and in doing so illustrates how history will not remain buried. "Choo Choo Choo Choo" celebrates women's stories as rich sources of place and identification. And lastly, "Lovin' the Spin I'm In " suggests a vibrant exchange of cultural stories that form (and inform) the fabric of Austrailan society integrating concepts of age, gender and ethnicities.

While combinations of 'ghost story' and 'feature' film conveniently suggest a mainstream reception agenda in terms of generic placement, it is important to note that each of the three stories needs to be addressed in its own right. These film texts cannot or should not be read simply as a feature film, encumbered with all the critical shortcomings such a categorisation implies.2 Such a reading would merely impose conventional generic labels such as horror or suspense drama. This film defies conventional read-offs. Instead it demands that viewers position themselves in relation to the changing historical and social dynamics that are occurring in Australia today. Spectators are confronted not once but three times by these changing cultural visions in Moffatt's latest work.

Each story in this trilogy begins from the premise of an 'always already' manifestation of representation.3 That is, Aboriginality is everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.4 And it is here that I will draw on deLauretis' deconstructionist theories of gender to suggest that her ideas can (and are) equally valid when applied to race. Both gender and race are a series of historical constructions or discursive formations, whereby attempts at representation are prefigured by ways of thinking that subsume notions of race as identification within a paradigm which has come to signify that which is 'always already represented'. It is precisely these notions, these pre-ordained ways of thinking, that BeDevil sets out to deconstruct in challenging and confronting ways. This film reworks the discursive agendas upon which dominant hegemonic discourses have been inscribed. It is necessary, here, to address the important work of Marcia Langton who in her exemplary essay, written for the Australian Film Commission, critiques a case for the production and reception of the politics and aesthetics of Aboriginal filmmakers. In an eloquent discussion destabilising discourses of identity, she claims the following:

"The field of tension between individual artist and the social audience (funding bodies, critics etc.) is where the issues are indecisive and indeterminate because the act of interpreting these works requires theorising gender and 'race'." 5

I want to now suggest some ways in which notions of race and gender may be theorised in "Choo Choo Choo Choo", the middle story of BeDevil. Firstly, it is important to note that this particular text serves as a vital link in Moffatt's own biographical construction of gendered/racial identity. The second story in this trilogy takes up where Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy left off.6 While the latter deals with an Aboriginal daughter's relationship with her white foster mother, the former is concerned with Moffatt's biological mother, a location (out west from Charlesville) and the stories that are intrinsic to notions of identity, the land and spiritual belief systems. This place is where the director's mother grew up. The mother-figure in both films is a potent bearer of cultural meanings, albeit for differing reasons. Where Night Cries deals specifically with the mother/daughter relationship in terms of identity and responsibility (in what some have said to be a rewriting of Chauval's Jedda), "Choo Choo" dramatises the important and multi-faceted roles of women in contemporary (and traditional) Aboriginal culture. We see Ruby (Tracey Moffatt) haunted by a young girl's ghost and a train and we see her again as an older woman (Auriel Andrews) re-telling the story's significance in flashback. The power of memory is harnessed by these figures as a counter strategy in the face of any official erasure of history. This second story clearly demonstrates the power of feminine intuition and knowledge. Aboriginal matriarchal figures celebrate and affirm specific cultural knowledges through song ("mother nature's calling me back home again"), solidarity ("meet my netball team"), kinship ("she's here, she's here") and dreamtime (the min-min lights). All of these elements are played out in a series of vignettes.

"Choo Choo Choo Choo" is a transformation story. From the opening shot of Ruby7 looking out at the approaching storm from the verandah of her ramshackle home to the memorable hunt scene, a mysterious sense of unease is palpable. The resulting tension is not a conventional ploy to unveil the 'horror' in the closing scenes. On the contrary, the sense of unease permeating this piece is a device aimed towards the power of listening. Interestingly, Moffatt's role includes very little dialogue. She observes and listens, in touch with the myths of her people and country. These are no abstract, romantic mythologies (as the scene of 'nouvelle cuisine' cooking - where the older Ruby literally wipes the camera lens - makes evident).8 Rather, cooking, parenting, hunting and even sleeping are melded into a dynamic set of practices, all of which together have the power to enable a re-telling, a reiteration of the 'past' that is not past but, like the tension that builds, is always also present. The reiterations involved here are, then, never out-of-time. Nor are they located in some merely surrealist space. Every location in "Choo Choo Choo Choo" links story with specific cultural sites, places that actively define history rather than having History enacted upon them. It is in this sense that this second story figures the transformational possibilities of Aboriginal culture.

This middle story in the trilogy more than the others emphasises the power of the ghost and the stories it generates. The ghost, although it cannot be seen, is and can be ... heard! Again orality is linked to how you hear the stories. A clear indication of this can be evidenced when Ruby puts her ear to the railway track: a potent visual marker of the significance of storylines. 9 The visual linkage between seeing and blindness is foregrounded in this text and warns that it is time to open our eyes (and ears) as history is changing course. This whole process centres on the image of the blind girl on the tracks. The motif of the blind girl is an instance that enable multiple read-offs. Possible reference points that come to mind are the two lost girls in the bush in Roeg's Walkabout and the illusory power of the landscape in Back of Beyond. Unlike these two films, the child in BeDevil is not swallowed up by the alien or threatening land. Instead, she walks the well-known tracks that link history to the present for indigenous people.

Cultural intertextuality is not an issue here: familiar reading practices are thrown overboard just like the GI in the swamp. They are not important features of the text, as Moffatt insists " ... If people pick up on a reference, it is not so they say, 'well she is referring to that,' or whatever, and then that's the end of it." 10 It may be more instructive to think instead in terms of an Aboriginal meta-text. 11 We hear and 'witness' the stories that are generated through a significance of place and identity. A place, whether it be an island swamp or out west of Charlesville, has been transformed by the colonial experience which in turn transforms people's lives and memories. The building of a picture house over the significant swamp site signals the most ironic twist of fate. As Rick so eloquently declares "they built this poxy cinema above that stink'n' swamp." A place that generates stories has now become the site for another type of story-telling. The question being asked is: whose stories are seen/told now?

I began this paper with a remark by Russell Edwards, a juror at the Toronto Film Festival. His remark highlighted for me the way in which normative reading practices are at odds with a film like BeDevil. Perhaps Edwards and others are prone to what Adrian Martin refers to as a tendency of the expressive critic to place value on coherence and to desire, therefore, to see

" a film in which, under continued scrutiny, more and more of its elements can be seen to function as integral parts of the whole, reflecting (by comparison or contrast) aspects of the over-arching thematic." 12

What happens when this 'over-arching thematic' is fragmented, unstable, necessarily incomplete and open to a multiplicity of meaning-making inferences? Furthermore, what if there is no visible 'over-arching thematic' in BeDevil but, rather, a series of hybridised texts that fuse cinematic technologies with other visual art media and work to reconstruct notions of avant garde, the short and the experimental. After all, BeDevil is a trilogy, a triptych structure that embodies three separate stories. And each story stresses its aural/oral narrative function as much as, if not more than, its visual accomplishments.

In a critique debating the sleight-of-hand that legitimates an intellectual appropriation of popular cultural texts, Adrian Martin points out that " ... the values that get ascribed to texts, and the readings we make of them , are not

the same as the texts themselves." 13

This, it seems, is precisely what has occurred with the reception of BeDevil. Aboriginal story 14 and the story-telling process constitute a central and intrinsic value in this film. The value of conventional narrative formats is not carried by the stories and cannot be collapsed into a reading of the text that searches for logic in order to construct a singular or overall meaning. In fact, Moffatt's work, more than most, resists a Eurocentric sensibility in terms of definitive reading practices. When asked in an interview about her filmmaking practices, this director/storyteller emphasises the importance of intuition, going with changes and letting things evolve. For example:

"Q: Because you are a highly visual filmmaker, how does storytelling figure in the narrative sense?

A: These are not stories told through traditional plot. Clever plots with twists and turns are never what I go for. BeDevil is like this: we are with these characters, and we are going to hang out with them for a while and see what they get up to.

Q: So you follow their gestures with all the unpredictability of their actions?

A: The key word is unpredictability - never let the audience know what is coming next. I'll even watch a movie I don't like if I don't know what is coming next, if I am not ahead of the story."15

Unfortunately this has been regarded by some as a "conflict of purpose" or, in other cases, the inability to express clarity or insight. In a review by John Wojdlyo, references to the film's use of naturalism are collapsed into a discussion of aesthetic value. According to this critic a conflict of purpose arises because:

"... The hyper-active stylistic intervention strips away narrative feeling by invoking formal connections (which often seem to lead nowhere), while the narrative feeling keeps trying to rise above the din. [....] the director seems to be half-way between thinking that all representation is a pernicious fiction and abandoning materialism altogether in flowing naturalism."16

It would surely be more appropriate to consider Moffatt's work as the active construction of intersubjective moments in the sense of a complex and ever-shifting interplay between experience and identities that provide performative bridges across which multiple subjectivities can be historically understood.17 I will return to this important notion of intersubjetivity later. For now, it is necessary to foreshadow the shortcomings of a 'Realist' appropriation. So, what happens when textual value is collapsed into the process of reading and in turn stands in for a reading of the text? Readings and texts are not the same, and Martin continues in this vein by stressing:

"..... This is not only because all texts are to some extent more-or-less- polysemic (complex and multifactorial) it is also because different cultural contexts and frames of understanding can cause us to see (and invent) these texts in radically different ways."18

When this occurs there is a disappointment in that the text fails to fulfil normative expectations of narrative in terms of causality, logic and expectation. It is as though the codes have been emptied out, stripped of their rational function and nothing is quite what it seems. By way of example let's take a primary instance from the first story in the trilogy "Mr Chuck". One of the on-screen narrators Rick (Jack Charles) is framed in a head and shoulders close-up a number of times throughout the segment: he tells of his childhood experiences with the ghost of Mr Chuck. What is disturbing here isn't the story as such, but rather the way it is told. Rick's address to the audience occupies shifting positionalities: he is authoritative narrator, mediator of events past and subject of the anecdote linking history to the present and vice versa. His laughing demeanour continually toys with the notion of a direct address. The appeal of this character is evidenced in a series of close-up portraitures where sadness, joviality and resilience create an overwhelming presence. It is here that the spectator is confronted with story-telling that evokes an Aboriginal oral tradition. The pain and joy of memory are fused, creating a paradoxical set of meanings which ultimately disrupt conventional spectator positions.

This process of disruption can be evidenced by a breakdown of an early sequence. It goes like this:

i) shot of Rick in jail tattooing ankle

ii) zoom into shot of ankle becomes unfocussed

iii) cut to shot of Rick as child piercing third-eye centre

iv) cut to extra close-up of woman's index finger smoothing over frown lines of forehead.

One possible reading for the intercutting of these gestures is that different or perhaps even competing memories are signified. Memories are literally etched for each of the protagonists in vastly different ways and act as a register of what is to be recalled. For Rick, memory is a lived experience depicted through piercing, opening up the flesh.19 The flesh is a vehicle for story and not separate from it whereas, for the white woman (Diana Davidson) memory is presented by a smoothing over of tensions, an ironing out of the historical tableau. Later, this same woman tells of her 'place' on the island. She is an heir of the white founders, the road builders. We hear of Rick's unhappy childhood of things she shouldn't say, before a dramatic cut to her in a head-and-shoulders profile bathed in a blinding white light in front of the window:

v) cut to a shot of Shelley (seated again) visibly upset

vi) camera moves in from level side angle

VO: "we on the island, we all knew, we could have helped that child..."

vii) camera moves away from narrator (in same line as approach).

Shelley's role as an on-screen narrator is jeopardised by her apparent gestures to be left alone. Now visibly upset by the camera's presence she signifies herself as an unreliable narrator. Not sure, unclear about her own motives and distressed by the power of recall, she runs to the window clutching a photograph of herself with the GI. Too late, the camera exits her abode surveying the area as it leaves. We hear Rick in voice-over "the place has changed, or so I've been told," and we continue to see a sequence of tongue-in-cheek shots of canal housing developments, panoramic beach locations, various urban settings and sites of dominant leisure pursuits (fishing, water sports, lawn bowls, cricket, caravan culture) coming to rest on a shot of the imprisoned Rick. Whilst given this visual display of colonial achievements, the sound track carries a quite different message. The images are underscored by the sound of Aboriginal people being physically removed from their land. We hear (ever so subtly) the clanging of chains, a dragging of feet, batons striking and male voices echoing "com'on get up, get up move on ..." On screen Rick continues to rub his temple with now bandaged hand and cut eyebrow. From this point on Rick's narration takes on a Shaman-like quality. This whole cluster of 'events' is exemplary of the film's narrative strategies with image and voice working against the grain of 'Realist' interpretation.

One of the consequences of continually applying conventional realist reading strategies to Moffatt's work is to ignore or override the effects of anti and hyper-realism that function throughout the three pieces. Commenting on the importance of set appearances and vanishing perspectives, the production designer Stephen Curtis recalls that in order "to create the false perspective we had to use theatrical methods of deceit."20 And the art director insists that there was a literal paring back of design effects to the extent that "... we were working towards infinity, fiddling with bits of dirt and little sticks."21 This (anti) 'reality-effect' takes on another dimension in BeDevil. Moffatt and her collaborators are at pains to tell real stories whilst side-stepping the illusion of drama and realism. In a desperate attempt to implement a different vision for her film, Moffatt writes in her diary: "Tonight I realised how perverse I am - how my perceptions differ from mainstream Australian film crews who are used to doing things in a certain way ..."22 . It is here that questions of representation are raised. To read Moffatt's film work in terms of realism or linear narrative structure is to read an aesthetic without political or ethical value.23 And it is through this absence that the colonial legacy of interpretation lives on.

It is important, too, to account for the workings of internal logic (as opposed to an overt narrative structuration) in the BeDevil stories as a process of translating orality. A striking instance of this bypassing of internal logic (often mistaken for textual logic) can be seen in the way critics swiftly move to place BeDevil alongside pre-existing discourses of Art History.24 The presentation of cultural difference is absorbed and assimilated into existing canons. Commentators and critics have made much of the film's use of cinematic form at the level of sophisticated visual and aural stylisation.25 The technologies of visual reproduction (photography, cinema, video, and other visual art media) have become the benchmark by which Moffatt's work is recognised and received. In fact, it is the 'painterly' dimensions of this auteur which most often incite critical attention. References to Drysdale, Namatjira and Smart are seen as important cultural intertexts or icons of referentiality. Given that BeDevil is such a visually stunning piece of cinema, it is easy to overlook the oral tradition/culture that (in)forms it. The mediums of the oral and the visual are fused in BeDevil and should not be regarded as separate moments for analysis. Moffatt is not trying to represent anything in a formal sense and this is where mainstream critical judgement is problematic. An over-stressing of the technical merits of the film detracts from its strong message or what Laleen Jayamanne has termed the aesthetic of assimilation.26

It will be useful to turn again at this point to an instance in "Mr Chuck". In a point-of- view shot we witness Rick's exit from an attempted break-in to Shelley's shop and are confronted (now from the point of view of the juvenile offender) with a confounding sense of irony as he is promptly served chilled ginger beer. He has done a wrongful deed yet finds himself rewarded. Surely, such a statement underlies the contradictory set of attitudes that informed assimilation policies of the time. Here the woman is positioned as a matriarchal authority figure and a contradictory set of emotions is put into play; she is angry and forgiving, sympathetic and unknowing, powerful yet helpless. Such contradictory character traits pervade all three pieces. Dimitri (Lex Marinos) in the final story "Love'n The Spin I'm In", embodies a mixed set of attitudes towards his Torres Strait Islander tenant and neighbour. Conflicting business interests -- how to evict Imelda (Debai Baira) whilst remaining on friendly terms with her and her extended family -- underscore an interesting cultural dilemma for this protagonist. How is he to be taken seriously, let alone respected by his business peers if he cannot implement a simple eviction? In a wonderful scene where Dimitri, Conos (John Conomos) and Fong (Kee Chan) are negotiating the prospects of a Marina on the still occupied site, Emelda's relatives turn up. All welcome Dimitri like a long lost family member. A reaction shot from Conos and Fong soon establishes the ironic and conflicting positionalities Dimitri occupies in his multi-faceted relationships. In a desperate attempt to reconcile business connections with the sceptical observers, Dimitri stutters, "It's all part of a traditional squatter's farewell ceremony!" This emblematic, sardonic parody is just one instance where discourses of multiculturalism are stripped of their rhetorical meanings.27 Difference, whether it be Aboriginal, Greek, Torres Strait Islander, Chinese or Mexican, is not played upon in order to create a special or singular sense of meaning or identity. On the contrary, Moffatt's deft handling of 'otherness' is derived from what Marcia Langton terms:"... the subjective experience of both Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people who engage in any intercultural dialogue."28

As I have suggested, as part of its strategy of transforming cultural meanings, (which appears to have been missed by the critics) BeDevil is a film that foregrounds aspects of race and gender. There is a continuing attempt to rework previous stereotypical images that have come to signify difference as all-pervasive. The move away from futile questions concerning a positive/negative value of image is not what is at stake here.29 BeDevil ignores simple binary oppositions. Moffatt is not antagonistic to black/white relations of power and dispossession in the binary sense, rather she is interested in a utilisation of the power of memory to reconstruct not an idyllic past, but a past that is strangely entangled and caught up with present debates on what it is to be in the intersubjective sense of experience. Her concerns are with the way in which the construction of race, identity, subjectivity and image are interconnected through memory, place and story. The site of story and formation of subject are inseparable in BeDevil. A lack of recognition of this connectedness in the social world continues to impede implementations, strategies and measures of Aboriginal policy making. by delegated non-Aboriginals. Perhaps this is why Marcia Langton so passionately proclaims:

"Aboriginal people, ways of doing things or saying things, appearances and style, are so extremely different from the Anglo-Australian norm, whatever that might be, has been a recurring theme in Australian History. It is also a problem which has bedevilled the most brilliant commentators."30

Murdoch University
1994

NB: This paper was also published in Span, Issue 37, (Yorga Wangi: Postcolonialism and Feminism) December, 1993.

Notes

1 "Conflict, conceit and consensus", Filmnews. Nov, 1993, p.11.

2 It is erroneous to read 'feature' in terms of narrative content when it more accurately applies to the temporal duration of the film.

3 Teresa de Lauretis, "The Technology of Gender" in Technologies of Gender:Essays on Theory, Film and Fiction, (Bloomington: Indiana Uni Press, 1987), pp.1-30.

4 By this I mean, Aboriginality has become a representative construct, via the media and other information technologies. Yet it seems that paradoxically it is also nowhere in the everyday consciousness of non-Aboriginal and white Australia.

5 Marcia Langton, "Well I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the television ..." An essay for the Australian Film Commission on the politics and aesthetics of filmmaking by and about Aboriginal people and things. (Sydney: AFC), 1993. p.45.

6 Even the train motif is carried over into the BeDevil story. Night Cries opens with the sound of a train that transforms into a scream. The ghost train motif sets up both a recurring soundscape and visual anomaly in "Choo Choo Choo Choo".

7 Moffatt plays the role of her mother. In an interview she says: " I thought it only right that I play this part ... the story is based on a yarn that my mother told me ... and I've sort of elaborated that in the second story, so I play Mum in a way ... my mother died in pre-production ..." , BeDevil (on the set) , Radio National Screen, broadcast 26 Nov, 1992.

8 An often overlooked aspect of contemporary Aboriginal cultural expression is the increasing tendency to develop parodic discourses in the face of non-indigenous stereotyping.

9 Thanks to Hugh Webb for this observation.

10 This is Tracey Moffatt's response when asked by John Conomos and Raffaelle Caputo about the collagist nature of her work, Cinema Papers, no. 93. May 1993, pp.31.

11 See Mudrooroo on "a twofold grammar at work" in Writing from the Fringe: A Study of Modern Aboriginal Literature. (Melbourne: Hyland House, 1990), pp.54-58.

12 See Adrian Martin's essay "Mise En Scene Is Dead, or The Expressive, The Excessive, The Technical and The Stylish" in Continuum, vol 5. no 2. 1992, p.100.

13 ------- "In the name of popular culture" in Australian Cultural Studies: A Reader eds. John Frow and Meaghan Morris, (Unwin & Allen: Sydney , 1993), p.142.

14 My references to story and stories throughout is by way of signalling the text's inscription of Aboriginality. Given this is an extremely loaded term both politically and ideologically, I use it not as object or thing of representation but as a guideline for the expression of an Aboriginal aesthetic.

15 Excerpt from an interview with Tracey Moffatt by John Conomos and Raffaelle Caputo op.cit. pp. 27-32.

16 See a review of BeDevil by John Wojdylo in Cinema Papers, No. 96, Dec. 1993, pp.46-47.

17 For a detailed discussion of 'Aboriginality' and intersubjectivity see Marcia Langton, op. cit. pp.33-35: "'Aboriginality', therefore, is a field of intersubjectivity in that it is remade over and over again in a process of dialogue, of imagination, of representation and interpretation. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people create 'Aboriginalities' ... " She then sketches out three broad categories for the cultural and textual construction of 'Aboriginality'.

18 Martin, op. cit. p. 142.

19 See also Anne Pratten's striking short film Terra Nullius where the subjects of sexual and racial abuse are fused in a confronting examination of cultural difference. Again the body-piercing motif registers notions of self-scrutiny, identity, blood-relations and a 'way in' to that from which the characters have been dispossessed.

20 See Production notes on BeDevil distributed by Ronin Films.

21 Ibid.

22 From Deb Verhoeven, "Just Trust the Text, Don't Colour It" in Artlink, ed. Annette Blonski, vol. 13, no. 1, March-May 1993. pp.30-31.

23 Langton, op. cit. p. 39.

24 Easy pronouncements about the slippage between BeDevil and other canonised artworks can be found in John Wojdlyo's remarks comparing Moffatt's work to Georgian filmmaker/primitivist painter Sergei Paradzhanoz, op. cit. p.47. Also see Marg O'Shea, "Acting up at Home" in Filmnews vol. 23, no. 6, Aug 1993, p.10. and the interview with Moffatt by John Conomos and Raffaelle Caputo in Cinema Papers,, op. cit. pp.27-32.

25 See for instance, Liz Burke, "A Mix and Match Festival" in Filmnews, vol. 23, no. 7, Sept. 1993, p. 9.

26 See Laleen Jayamanne's piece" 'Love me tender, love me true, never let me go ...': A Sri Lankan reading of Tracey Moffatt's Night Cries-A Rural Tragedy " in (eds.) Sneja Gunew and Anna Yeatman, Feminism And The Politics Of Difference . (Sydney: Unwin & Allen,) 1993, pp. 73-84.

27 This particular scene is more concerned with complex issues of land rights (as the irremovability of the dancing ghosts from the warehouse makes evident). Counter-forces of Aboriginal ownership are at work here. Consequently, the land agent and banker are pictured caught in an 'out of control'Holden Commodore spinning on a directional arrow.

28 Langton, p. 31.

29 See, by contrast, Mudrooroo Nyoongah, "Passing for White Passing for Black: An Ideological Con-pro-testation" in Continuum, vol. 8, no.1, forthcoming, 1994.

30 Langton, p. 39.


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