Being a relatively new resident of Wonthaggi, I was pleased when a neighbour invited me to go to the cinema on Sunday evening to see William Kelly’s War, a movie that has strong local connections.
I was absolutely riveted; the action is realistic, engaging, nail-biting.
I was literally on the edge of my seat a few times, and some scenes drew a collective audible response from the audience.
Especially effective is the juxtaposition of the mandated violence, including the execution of a ‘deserter’, experienced by the boys in Europe’s war with the criminal violence menacing their families back home in Australia: each unaware of the other’s stark reality.
Without resorting to blatancy, the cinematography and script bear witness to the traits that typify us – spiritual love of country (bequeathed through millennia of Aboriginal stewardship), larrikinism, courage, bravado and mateship.
This resonates with meaning about who we are and what defines us as Australians: a testament to the skill of the director and crew, and the naturalness of the actors (an unexpected delight was seeing a friend of mine in the role of Major Jones).
I was not surprised when the end of this evocative movie prompted applause from the audience. I was, however, surprised to discover that it was made locally with many local actors.
Afterwards, I was able to meet some of them, along with the director, and I felt a sense of inclusiveness with the community.
As our nation commemorates the centenary of Gallipoli, I hope this film finds its way into every school in Australia.
It represents an authentic picture of country Australia, and speaks of the characteristics and values that determine what it means to be an Australian: all this without a hint of phony nationalism or jingoism.
This is an achievement worthy of recognition and emulation.
Robyn O’Sullivan, Wonthaggi
A sense of belonging