Tinged with anger and laden with sadness, a hopeful message is delivered with verbal and visual eloquence in “Kanyini,” a primer on Australian indigenous culture. Augmented by a treasure trove of archival footage and helmed with restraint by Melanie Hogan, docu is simple, accessible and powerful. After Oz fest circuit, this brief entry is skedded for national release and will ride high on arthouse trail blazed by “Ten Canoes.” International fests and pubcasters will line up, while educational institutions are likely to be an ancillary goldmine.
Aboriginal tribal elder Bob Randall is native to the desert area surrounding the unique rock formation and Oz icon, Uluru. In an extended interview cum monologue, the cowboy-hatted Randall succinctly outlines how colonization depleted his people by destroying their “kanyini,” a Pitjantjatjara word encompassing spirituality, community, land and family. Addressed to all who followed Australia’s white settlers (subject repeatedly uses pronoun “you”), pic states its view forcefully, but wisely avoids a hectoring tone. Archival footage sublimely underlines the story of loss endured by Randall and his people, while contempo footage depicting devastated aboriginal communities drives the point home. Tech credits are simple but effective.