movie of the month
THE SAPPHIRES Foot-tapping soul music, fabulous frocks and an emotional punch: don’t miss this film, writes Anni Cameron. The scene is 1968 with the war in Vietnam raging, the heady days of “free love”, drugs, hippies and psychedelic music happening amid a groundswell of global protests, riots and revolution. In Australia, this social upheaval hasn’t quite reached remote areas. But it provides the backdrop for this feel good tale of four young women from a remote Aboriginal mission who, faced with the deep racism of the time, overcame all obstacles to be catapulted onto the international scene as Australia’s answer to the Supremes. The Sapphires is an adaptation of the successful stage musical of the same name and was co-written by Tony Briggs, the son of one of the four women who inspired the story. Wayne Blair directed this delightful, triumphant celebration of guts, family and soul music, which received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Three sisters’ dream of making it singing country and western songs. They compete in a talent quest in the local town, where they are studiously ignored by locals but spotted by a down-on his luck Irish musician played by Chris O’Dowd; a white boy with “soul” in his heart. His job at the pub is terminated when he voices approval for the girls’ singing. Julie,
the cheeky youngest of the women, played by Jessica Mauboy, hassles Dave into getting them an audition in Melbourne to perform for American Marines in Vietnam. Dave’s proviso that they embrace soul music provides the perfect vehicle for Mauboy’s gutsy, powerful voice. In Melbourne, the two older sisters, Gail (Deborah Mailman) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) seek out their cousin Kay (Shari Sebbens), a member of the Stolen Generation, as a possible replacement for Julie who has been forbidden by her parents to go. It is immediately apparent that there is feuding between Gail and Kay as the trio rehearse under Dave’s direction. When Julie runs away from the mission to rejoin her sisters, Dave has the fourpiece girl-group he wanted: The Sapphires. Mailman and Mauboy deliver powerful, 60s foottapping soul music, ably backed by Sebbens and Tapsell in their colourful and eye-catching outfits. Occasionally the film tries too hard and at times the roles seem clichéd, but the girls shine like bright jewels and the notion of four Aboriginal girls stylishly triumphing over adversity packs a genuine emotional punch. Not to be missed. Anni Cameron, RN, BHA, MEd, is a Teacher of Nursing at St George TAFE, Sydney Institute, NSW IN CINEMAS 9 AUGUST
ciné files Director of photography Warwick Thornton won the Caméra d’Or at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival for his directorial debut film Samson & Delilah.
MEMBERS GIVEAWAY the lamp has 15 in-season double passes to give away to The Sapphires, thanks to hopscotch films. the first 15 members to email their name, membership number, address and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org will win.
T H E L A M P A U G U S T 2 01 2 | 4 7
Published on Aug 1, 2012
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