Good Afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, today I will be sharing with you my reasons for creating the musical film ‘One Night The Moon’. There are many reasons as to why I created this film the way I did, but my main reason as to why, was “I wanted to make a film about the space between black and white Australians”. Over the next few minutes I will be explaining how I used directors techniques to emphasise the purpose of the film, including the concerns and issues faced by the characters, Jim and Albert. To put it simply, for a voice to be distinctive, it must exhibit unique features that artistically shape and define relationships whilst still emulating our perceptions of others through written, spoken and visual language. Through this film in many ways have been able to collectively illuminate not only the deep-seated racial and gendered injustices of the context of the film, but also been able to incite a more culturally inclusive feature. I was able to do this through a unique fusion of lyrics, cultural instruments, diegetic and non-diegetic sound, music and image as an articulation of cultural differences and gender differences
Throughout the duration of the film, the audience is exposed to multiple scenes of racial prejudice demonstrated through the main characters Jim and Albert, who lived two completely different lives, culturally, politically and spiritually. The stark differences between the non-indigenous and Aboriginal methods of “knowing” and “seeing” the landscape limits the interaction between these two cultures. This is portrayed in the scene where Jim Ryan is first introduced to the Indigenous tracker, Albert, who is employed to lead the search for Jim’s missing daughter. However, his racial prejudicial is revealed as he dismisses Albert’s assistance asserting there will be “no blacks on my land”. Following this scene the song “This land is Mine”, emerges to portray the juxtaposition between the two distinct cultures and the strained relationship with each other, emphasising Jim’s fear of what he doesn’t “know” and “see”, as well as the issue of racial prejudice in the 1930’s.
Another example of how racial prejudice is an issue in Australian society is shown through Albert, who is portrayed as a silent and tormented Indigenous Australian throughout the film, as he sits in the midst of a gathering with other Indigenous people and broods on his inability to help with the search. This scene allows us to understand the lack of dialogue from Albert, in an attempt to emphasise his quiet agony and despair, drawing us in and allowing us to understand the effects of racial prejudice. The effective internal monologues are achieved and demonstrated throughout the entirety of the musical film, this is portrayed in the scene where we see Albert swinging his axe in an attempt to cut through the wood to release his anger. Whilst doing so, we hear him singing in tone of voice that is almost shocking to the audience, this tone assists us in understanding his passion and anger towards the fact that he’s unable to help in the search for Emily. This is because Albert was rejected from the search due to Jim stating that there will be “no blacks on my land”. Furthermore, during the scene we hear him say “just a swag full of nothing”, where in fact Albert is full of hope, knowledge and willingness, but he feels as though it’s his fault that he’s not leading the search and hasn’t been able to find Emily. This example further shows the issue of racial prejudice mainly due to the fact that Albert wasn’t allowed on the search because Jim refused to have him on “his land”, with “bank breathing down his neck”.
Another key issue portrayed in this musical film, was the religious differences between the two main characters of the film. Jim’s strident voice alerts us to his dominating settler attitude that asserts land ownership. This is emphasised in the lyrics “all the way to the old fence line, they won’t take it away”. However, on the other hand, Albert’s earthier baritone affirms that “this land owns me, from generations past to infinity”, further expressing he is spiritually derived from it, which makes him liable to further understand the aspects of the Australian landscape. The use of a long shot during this scene is used to capture Jim marching in the wrong direction, but to also capture Albert, contrastingly walking alone, further symbolising the cultural, spiritual and political viewpoints that separates the two. Because Jim has refused to take on Albert during the search, it forces Albert to walk off the property feeling unworthy of anything, although he knows that he is the only person that can find Emily. Further demonstrating the issue of religious differences within the context of the film.
Additionally, in the opening scenes of the film we see and hear Jim Ryan’s voice as one of confusion, disillusionment, regret and defeat. His song takes in those cultural values and belief systems that should have sustained a man who lived by the Christian principles of hard work and “knowing what was wrong and right”; who “earned his bread” and “loved his own”. Yet the next phrase of ‘helped your neighbour’ rings sadly hollow due the rejection of Albert’s knowledge of the land and the subsequent loss of his daughter. A loss that could have been avoided had his interpretations of those Christian ‘commands’ of his faith, been demonstrated. His confusion is heard through the lyrics: “Once I knew how the world worked…Now I don’t know anything anymore/God was good/Black was never white…”. The single guitar instrumentation and the lowered pitch of Kelly’s voice in this opening song heightens the bitterness of his failure and regret. Furthermore his reflective anguish is reinforced and confirmed in a close-up shot of a single rifle bullet in Jim’s hand, which is then later used in the final scenes of the play, to kill himself. Therefore, through the aforementioned examples we are able to further understand the religious differences between both Jim and Albert, as Jim was once understanding but later changed due to the fact that he lost his daughter.
Therefore, it is through the distinctive voices of both Jim and Albert, that have been able to emphasise my aim for this film being to “make a film about the space between black and white Australians”. As well as being able to convey the concerns and issues of racial prejudice and religious differences in Australian society.