Rabbit-Proof Fence 

(PG) 4 stars

(PG) 4 stars
"The other kids that were taken, they were much younger. They didn"t know mother. But I was older. I knew mother. I wanted to go home to mother." -Molly Craig (85), Jigalong, Western Australia Rabbit-Proof Fence tells the story of Molly, her sister and her cousin, three children who escaped from their kidnappers and tried to find their way home. Their task was incredibly difficult because the distance was very far and their kidnappers were the government. The true story is set in Australia, where, between 1901 and 1907, the government erected a fence that extended from a point on the south coast to a point on the north coast. The fence, the longest in the world, was put up to protect farmlands from being overrun by rabbits. A byproduct of the rabbit-proof fence was the birth of thousands of mixed race babies in various Aboriginal settlements in the Outback, fathered by the men who put up the fence. Claiming to be concerned for the children, the government came up with a plan. A government official was named as legal guardian of the Aborigines. He then would order children of mixed race (called "half-castes") to be forcibly removed from their families and taken to settlement camps hundreds of miles away. At these camps, they lived in prison-like dorms, forbidden to speak in their own language and enduring brutal conditions. Their keepers indoctrinated them in Christianity and the customs of the white culture. Eventually, they would become domestic servants and farm laborers. The lighter skinned children were removed, to be adopted and raised as whites. The government enacted a breeding campaign, believing that, within three generations, all Aboriginal characteristics could be bred away. This horrific policy began in 1905 and continued until 1971. I repeat, until 1971. To put this into perspective, in 1971 human beings were traveling to the moon. The Beatles had already broken up. The counterculture movement had swept the world. We are not talking ancient history here. Rabbit-Proof Fence begins in 1931, when A.O. Neville (Kenneth Branagh) was the legal guardian of the Aborigines. On his order, 14-year-old Molly (Everlyn Sampi), her 8-year-old sister Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and their 10-year-old cousin Gracie (Laura Monaghan) are snatched away from their community at Jigalong, a tiny depot in the northwest on the edge of the Gibson Desert. With their mothers screaming and running behind the departing car, the girls are taken to the distant Moose River Native Settlement. The indoctrination begins, but Molly is more resistant than most, and on one rainy Sunday, she takes off with the other two girls, determined to lead them home by foot, unaware that home is 1,200 miles away. Go to Key Cinemas and see what happens. You"ll witness casual inhumanity, incredible determination, sweeping vistas and an amazing adventure. You"ll appreciate the performances, especially by Everlyn Sampi, a non-actor who does a bang-up job as Molly. See Rabbit-Proof Fence. You"ll never forget it.

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