Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yorta Yorta Aborigines - Mon., Apr.29

In my quest to keep you on your toes wondering what I might write about next, I bring you the Yorta Yorta Aborigines from Australia. In specific, singing sisters who went on to become The Sapphires singing sensation.

In Australia, many light-skinned aborigines were taken from their homes and given to white families to raise as their own someplace else. Those children are known as "The Stolen Generation." When we visited Melbourne, Australia, we saw monuments showcasing the practice with history written by family members. We could feel the pain and anguish of mothers and children who wrote. Apologies from the government were also highlighted in the outdoor exhibit. The practice of stealing children from their families didn't end until the 1970s. But I digress.

On Friday afternoon, we went to the local Bijou art cinema to see The Sapphires, a story about four young women who dreamed of singing for a living. One sister saw an ad for singers to entertain the troops in Vietnam and she made up her mind they would go there.

In The Sapphires, which is based on a true story circa 1968, the sisters sang country western music. For their very first audition, they went to the closest town which was very prejudiced against aborigines. [In fact aborigines were not considered human, they were considered part of the flora and fauna.] When it was their turn to perform, the white townspeople ignored them even though they were the best part of the show. The only person who clapped for them was a young boy. The talent competition prize was given to a young lady who couldn't sing worth beans.

Chris O'Dowd is Dave, an Irish, alcoholic, down-on-his-luck talent scout. He played the piano for the competition the girls were in. At the end of the competition, the girls showed Dave the ad for singers to go to Vietnam. He doesn't want to have anything to do with taking the girls to Vietnam, but the girls persuade him. He teaches them how to sing soul music, bust some dance moves, and off they go. By the way, the sound track is wonderful!

It all sounds simple here, but the plot is complex with discrimination issues, the personalities of the girls, how taking children from their families affected all involved, the family response to their quest, and relationships formed along the way.

Bob and I highly recommend this film. The story-telling uses elements of the real-life girls and how they grew up entertaining their families, but also has added elements that didn't really happen. All in all, the movie is outstanding. Five out of five stars.