I watched Australia starring Hugh Jackson and Nicole Kidman on television yesterday and rued missing the chance to see it on the big screen. It was long but it was nice and old worldly. Set in the times of the World War II, the movie deals with the regulations of the Australian law of those times, which enabled law enforcers to wean away children of mixed breeding i.e. children born to whites and the native aborigines who were black, and put them in mission camps in an effort to 'cleanse the black out of them'. The end credits mention that this law was changed subsequently sometime in recent years and in 2006 or so, the Australian Prime Minister issued an apology to the children of the stolen generations.
The story is the endearing love story between a white woman, an English woman Lady Ashley (Nicole Kidman) who comes to Australia to find out what her cattle breeding husband is upto, and the young mixed blooded Nullah. Of course it is also the story of the love between Drover (Hugh Jackson) and Lady Ashley. Lady Ashley arrives in dramatic circumstances in the company of the drover who drives her for two days from the harbour to the farm, Faraway Downs, only to find her husband dead. Speared by a glass tipped collector's item. She is in no mood to stay and is in a hurry to sell the property and return to England when little Nullah tells her that he had seen the farm Manager drive their unbranded cattle across the river. When asked, Fletcher denies it, is proven wrong and is sacked. (Nullah is the son of Fltecher's liason with the native help.) And then all hell breaks loose. The police come to take away Nullah who hides in the water tank with his mother and she drowns, the Drover agrees to herd the cattle across the river to the harbour for the army's beef requirements (something that has been catered exclusively by Carmen Farms who is interested in taking over this property). How they herd the cattle across, survive Fletcher's treachery, lose good men and women in the process and make it to the harbour is one part of the story. How Lady Asley tries to adopt the boy Nullah and is almost ostracised for that and for communing with a known aboriginal friendly man like the Drover, how she plans a future with the Drover and Nullah in Faraway Downs, how the boy is taken away thanks to the interfering Fletcher who now owns Carmen Farms through intrigue and murder and how it all comes to a happy ending is the saga of Australia.
Breathtaking locales, a good look at the desert country in Australia, the aborigines and their ways, cattle breeding, Australia looks very good. To me the scene when Nullah stops the rampaging cattle from plunging over the cliff by standing up to the frightening sight of fifteen hundred crazed cattle will remain in my mind forever. His grandfather King George and his belief that his gulapa magic will always save him, his mannerisms, make Nullah completely adorable. Just as his wonderful line which stuck a chord in me 'I will sing you to me'.
'I will sing you to me,' then is my line to the ones I love.