Whew. Day three in Melbourne already.
Thanks to everyone who responded with advice on telecommunication options. I’m now finally set up with a great mobile wi-fi modem that slips in my shirt pocket and makes me a mobile hotspot wherever I am, and connects as many devices as I care to burden it with. And I have a mobile: a whole new experience in being connected. I can call a cab myself if I need to! (Although we’ve been specializing in misadventures with trams more than taxis.) The only downside of the Telstra experience was not realizing that I needed my passport to establish a service contract. My back still hasn’t quite recovered from unnecessarily lugging my laptop back and forth across the CBD.
But enough of the travails of travel. We had a very good trip over from the US, and best of all, Mad Bastards was among the films on offer in flight. If you’ve not heard of it, the story involves an extended Indigenous family: a young boy whose on the verge of serious trouble with the law; his grandfather, who is the local lawman; and the boy’s father, TJ, a man who walked out on the family years ago. The father all too often becomes violent when he has been drinking; his brother’s in jail and his mother won’t have anything to do with them. After getting into a violent brawl in a Perth hotel, TJ heads for the Kimberley, hoping to re-connnect with his wife and his son.
The story may be familiar, but the telling is exquisite. The multiple story threads are set forth in short, intercut scenes that establish the relationships among the characters by analogy as much as by exposition. The acting is understated. The country is beautiful, the community is richly portrayed. (One of the features I liked most about the film are the scenes that don’t seem to advance the plot a great deal, but tell you volumes about the interconnectedness of people—not all of them major players in the story—in the Kimberley country.)
It’s a film I’m looking forward to seeing a second time. I missed a good bit of the dialog in the roar of the plane’s engines and the occasional interruption by a flight attendant, so I will seek it out again for a second run through its pleasures. All in all, a great start to our return to Australia.
More to follow, of course: Living Water at the NGV up next.