Wayne Blair puts Aborigines in the spotlight for ‘The Sapphires’

Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens star in "The Sapphires" Credit: Lisa Tomasetti/ The Weinstein Company
Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens star in Wayne Blair’s “The Sapphires.”
Credit: Lisa Tomasetti/ The Weinstein Company

Hidden inside director Wayne Blair’s heartwarming debut, “The Sapphires,” is a harsh history lesson on Australia’s abhorrent racial policies from the not-so-distant past. The film recounts the true tale of four soul-singing aboriginal sisters who head to Vietnam to entertain American troops since they can’t get much work back home, where just a year earlier they were considered flora and fauna instead of actual people.

Outside of Australia the story of “Stolen Generation” is not as well known as it should be. Does the text at the beginning of the movie also appear in the Australian version?
No, it doesn’t. People in Australia know about it to a certain extent, but need to be reminded, for sure. To most Australians it was new information until 15 or 20 years ago. It’s a very sour subject with indigenous Australia in the sense of bringing up some truth, some disgusting truth; but, yeah, many people don’t know much about that history at all [in the States]. The screenings that we had, 90 percent of people had no idea, and the 10 percent that heard something about it, it’s usually due to the film “Rabbit-Proof Fence.”

I was really amazed that it wasn’t until 1967 that the law was changed.
Yeah, exactly. The year before that, Aboriginal people were flora and fauna. They were counted as a cow or a sheep or as a plant. It’s actually quite disgusting. That’s only 44 years ago. Australia has a harsh history so it’s taken this long to forgive and forget a few things, but it’s still going to take a while longer.

Are tensions still sore in the country?
Yeah, it’s still a bit sore, a touch sour, but people have moved on. People remember it, but it’s hard for non-indigenous Australia to recognize it 100 percent of the time, to take it in fully. I think that some people have taken it in a little bit but it’s sort of done the wrong way. So it’s one of those things I think that still has a long way to go for Australia.

I was impressed by that impact Martin Luther King Jr. had on the Australian people.
Yeah, the correlation between [the civil rights movement] for Australian people and that for American people is huge in the sense the Americans probably had no idea about how much that man had impacted the world. He did, but especially did have the resonance for black Australians — Aboriginal Australians — at that time because of a lot of policy and their fighting for their basic human rights. They got a lot of that from the American civil rights movement, which is great.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.