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    TERRA NULLIUS: Celebrating Survival

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    Event description

    The Women's Library is honoured to invite you to mark NAIDOC week by viewing TERRA NULLIUS, with filmmaker Annie Pratten on hand for a Q&A afterwards.



    A young Aboriginal girl, Alice, has been adopted into a white family but her Aboriginality and her origins are denied and hidden. We begin to see how much of this same history has been denied to her white adoptive family too, creating a trauma that permeates all of colonised Australia. Denial, shame and fear, passed down from one generation to the next, and from one culture to another.

    Vignettes from different periods in Alice’s life evoke a deep-seated emotional and spiritual dislocation.  “Terra Nullius” - the original colonial declaration in Australian law that “the Land belonged to Nobody” - was an emphatic statement that there were no cultures or peoples to dispossess.The damage done by this fiction is all too apparent. Or is it?

    The film ultimately works to draw connections between the political declaration of Terra Nullius and its personal and psychological counterparts. Running throughout the film are parallel impressions of terror, disembodiment and disassociation. The sexual abuse of Aboriginal women and girls, in particular, has been silenced and systemic. Personal survival is at stake.

    Finally, we see Alice as an adult with her adoptive parents, who now know that she is Aboriginal. As they all grapple with the consequences of lies much greater than themselves, Alice finds herself coming back for the child that was left behind.
    This courageous film, re-mastered from the original 1992 negatives, addresses some of the political, social and spiritual damage of separation from body, land, family and culture - and celebrates survival despite the odds.

    We are very pleased to announce that Terra Nullius will be accompanied by "TO BE SILENT", a short film by Tace Stevens.

    In Annie's words:

    Two very powerful and moving films by 2 Aboriginal women filmmakers, both Graduates of Australian Film Radio and Television School but across the  generations ...
    I was the first Aboriginal person to graduate way back in 1992 ...
    And Tace Stevens is one of the more recent Aboriginal Graduates in 2023 ...
    So different .. but so the same ..
    Finding a way to come back - to have a Voice

    I will be there as the director, writer and editor of Terra Nullius ...
    To have a yarn and answer any questions - or we can create more questions ...

    THE VENUE:  The DENDY cinemas are easily accessible by train (Newtown station) or bus to King St, with plenty of good eating houses nearby.

    Looking forward to seeing you there for this special event!
    Margot Oliver
    The Women's Library  

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