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Emu Runner (Imogen Thomas, 2018) wr. Imogen Thomas; Rhae-Kye Waites, Stella Carter, Mary Waites; TorontoIFF Sep20, AdelaideFF 14Oct18; released 7Sept2019
Emu Runner is a lyrical story about the impact a mother's death has on an Aboriginal family living in an isolated community, which is perched on an ancient river and surrounded by sprawling plains. The story is seen through the eyes of Gem, a spirited eight-year-old girl, who deals with the grief of her mother's death by forging a bond with a wild emu, a mythical bird of her ancestors. This spiritual dreaming is a bond she will do anything to keep, but one that puts her at odds with the new social worker.
Writer-director Imogen Thomas’s debut feature Emu Runner has and probably will play in designated family-themed strands of film festivals, and given its story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal girl who deals with grief in the wake of her mother’s death by bonding with a lone female representative of Australia’s largest native bird species, this programming strategy is to be expected. Yet adult audiences who bypass this serene and finely-detailed coming-of-age tale do so at their own risk, as Thomas has made a deep, rich meditation on family, community, country and racial tensions that strides well beyond its girl-meets-bird logline. Flightless the Dromaius novaehollandiae may be, but Emu Runner soars. Eddie Cockrell, Variety.
Garry Gillard | New: 21 November, 2019 | Now: 28 August, 2020