Film Review

Assignment 2

MED 231


By Aimee Hanafiah

PART 1 - Film Information


Paul Kelly - Father

Kaarin Fairfax - Mother

Memphis Kelly - Emily Ryan

Kelton Pell - Tracker Albert Yang

Ruby Hunter - Albert Yangâs wife

Chris Haywood - The Sargeant

David Field - Allman


Director and Co-writer - Rachel Perkins

Director of Photography - Kim Batterham

Production Designer - Sarah Stollman

Costume Designer - Zed Dragojlovich

Composers - Kev Carmody, Paul Kelly, Mairead Hannan

Musical Director - Mairead Hannan

Art Director - Rob Webb

Editor - Karen Johnson

Writer - John Romeril

Executive Producer - Kevin Lucas

Producers - Aanya Whitehead, Paul Humfress, Kevin Lucas

Music Arts Dance Film Festival in Association with the Australian Film Commision, New South Wales Film & Television Office, South Australian Film Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation & Opera Australia.

Release Date - 11th of August 2001

Running Time - 57 mins


New York International Independent Film & Video Festival Awards 2001

Winner - Best Musical - Rachel Perkins

Winner - Best Cinematography in a short film - Kim Batterham

Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards 2001

Winner - Best Cinematography in a Non-Feature Film - Kim Batterham

Winner - Best Original Score - Mairead Hannan, Kev Carmody, Paul Kelly

Australian Writerâs Guilds 2001 AWGIE Awards

Winner - Best TV Original - John Romeril with Rachel Perkins

Winner - The Golden AWGIE - John Romeril with Rachel Perkins

Australian Cinematographic Society (ACS) 2001

Winner - Gold Award - Kim Batterham

2001 IF Awards - The Australian Peopleâs Choice Awards

Nominated - Best Director - Rachel Perkins

Nominated - Best Editing - Karen Johnson


Berlin International Film FestivalGermany, February 2002

Sundance Film FestivalUtahUSA, January 2002

Moondance International Film FestivalColoradoUSA, January 2002

Hawaii International Film FestivalHawaiiUSA, November 2001

New York International Independent Film & Video FestivalUSA, November 2001

Mid Valley Film FestivalCaliforniaUSA, 2001

BrooklynAcademy of Music (BAM) FestivalNew YorkUSA, October 2001

Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia, August 2001

Brisbane International Film Festival, Australia, August 2001

Message Sticks Festival - Opening Night Film of Blak Screen/Blak Sounds Film FestivalAustralia, June 2001

Part 2 - Critical Review of Film and Literature

This film is based on events that occurred in 1932. It is about a girl, Emily Ryan (Memphis Kelly) who overnight ran away and went missing within the Australian landscape. The father (Paul Kelly) went to get help for his daughter does not want an aboriginal tracker, Albert Yang (Kelton Pell) involved in the search party for his daughter. His decision caused a tragic ending that lead to the girlâs death. Months later, the mother (Kaarin Fairfax) asks for Albertâs help and eventually found the girls body. Itâs a simple tragic film that raises the issue of racism. The story grows deeper and deeper through the music and visuals. Originally the idea comes from a documentary Black Tracker that depicts the real life story of Tracker Riley. It follows the narrative aspects of moviemaking but also add the elements of music to make it more interesting.

The way the director, Rachel Perkins, developed the storyline is extraordinary because she told it in a way not through the normal dialogue style but rather as a musical drama. The story is told through the music that earned an award from Australian Film Award for best original score.

Rachel Perkins uses the style of slow motion for the fantasy scene of the girl running towards the moon and flashbacks and focuses on scenery and the nature. The title song of ÎOne Night The Moonâ was the only scene where it shows the family is happy and together singing the lullaby.Throughout the film, there is much tension between the father and mother because the mother sensed that Albert could be of some help in the search because he is a professional tracker. The father refuses because the thought of it seems to threaten his searching skills and he wouldnât let a black man within his grounds. The symbolic element that showed Albert could have saved the girl is the image of the manâs hands trying to grab hold of a girlâs hands.

According to scriptwriter John Romeril, the film raises a timely ongoing social issue and that there is a cost to pay for racism. For example, because of the fatherâs refusal of letting a professional tracker who happens to be a Blackman costs the life of his daughter.

Paul Kellyâs performance is remarkable because he co-wrote the song and he played the part of the father well. The music that the actors and actresses sing in the movie was pre-recorded before the shooting of the film. During the shooting of the film they were lip syncing with the music.

Overall, to me the music is well made and it gives a sense of realism socially and environmentally. The film relived the era of 1930âs and maintain the scenery effect of Australianness in the film with background effect of the sound of didgeridoo and the landscape as well.

This film is considered as a musical film because the movie is telling the story through the music. The music tells the story without any dialogues. It is way of telling a story and to prove a purpose. This film is remarkable in bringing up the issue raised and the way it is presented.

I started conducting my research for this paper by borrowing the DVD copy of this film. In the DVD it has most of the reference and materials that I needed. I also went online to gain more access and find more information on the film.


1)    DVD of One Night the Moon