How is sport used by the author/director to explore important themes or issues?
Deadly Unna? a novel by Philip Gwynne and Australian Rules, a film adaptation of the novel, directed by Paul Goldman are both set in an Australian town, focusing on two different locations – the Port, inhabited by white people, and the Point where the Aboriginal people live. Both texts follow the progress of a hopeless football team coming together to play in the grand final. The novel explores the enlightenment of the protagonist, fifteen-year old Gary Black, or commonly known as Blacky, and his realisation and recognition of the world around him. Everyone assumes that the three main ‘Australian rules’ are that all Australians are equal, Australians believe in mateship and that they think that they have their own individual identity. In both of the texts the author and the director use sport to explore these three main rules examining the issues of the mentality of racism towards Aboriginal people, the bond of friendship and teamwork between two different races, and the importance of independence and personal courage. In doing so, they use a range of literary and cinematographic techniques
One of the assumptions that amongst Australians is that we live in an egalitarian society. However, this ‘rule’ is evidently ironic in many situations both in the novel and the film especially in the context of sport. The novel shows that there are divisions in the team. This is shown when Blacky describes how the Nungas (term for Aboriginal people) played football: “They zigzag the ball across the field, they kick backwards, they handball it over their heads, they go on wild, bouncing runs. When the Nungas played like this, by their rules, we just stopped and watched. They never gave the ball to us – we weren’t part of it, we didn’t understand.” This shows that there is a division in the team between Aboriginal and white players, which emphasizes the racial separation. However, the film...
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