These subjective annotated bibliographical
records are linked to the RMIT University Bonza
database. Bonza entries also exist for Ned
Lander and Graeme
Marcus: “Wrong Side Of The
Road” Australian Film 1978-1994
Scott Murray (ed) Melbourne: Oxford, 1995, p.87
A good look at the film’s historical importance, examining the
importance of the film in putting forward the story of urban Aboriginal
Australia, and more specifically at Aboriginal popular music as an empowerment
Filippo and Carmelo Marabello: L’Ultima
onda: immagini del cinema australiano degli anni settanta & ottanta Firenze,
La Casa Usher, 1987.
Supposedly contains summary, credits and reprints of newspaper articles (text
Susan & Elizabeth Jacka: The
Screening of Australia Vol.1
Sydney: Currency Press, 1987, p.188
Wrong Side Of The Road as an example of “poor” cinema – low budget feature
Susan & Elizabeth Jacka: The
Screening of Australia Vol.2
Sydney: Currency Press, 1987, p.36, 41-42, 116
* The film is mentioned as a film “relegated to the ultra-low budgets of the
Creative Development Branch of the AFC”.
Mentioned later under the heading of “Social Realist” film, where the
“documentary” style, contemporary urban feel, mode of address, and the
crossing of genres is discussed.
film is also briefly looked at in relation to Noyce’s Backroads (1977) and Schepsi’s Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978).
Sandra: Critical business: the new Australian cinema in review
Adelaide: Rigby, 1992, p.79
*A good but short reading of the film that explains how it “achieves its
considerable impact by what is left unsaid”, with its “virtue in its very
Karen: Sites of difference AFI:
South Melbourne, 1993, p.17+23
refers to Wrong Side Of The Road briefly as a film of resistance, where
non-Aboriginal art forms are appropriated and used as a vehicle for rebellion.
She also says that the film represents the “heterogeneity of
Aboriginality”, and says that it is an exception to the “limiting social
register that inheres in other Aboriginal films.
Ned & Martha Ansara: “Panel
discussion on the funding, distribution and critical reception of The
Wrong Side Of The Road, with Ned Lander and Martha Ansara”
Papers and forums on independent
film and asian cinema Barbara
Creed, John Davies, Freda Freiberg, David Hanan & Kim Montgomery (eds)
The Australian Film and Television School and the Australian Screen
Studies Association (Victoria), 1983, p.66-81.
crucial primary source, giving virtually the entire history of the film and its
making. Lander himself explains
where the ideas and funding came from, where and how the film was distributed
and exhibited, its critical reception, the dangers of “documentary” elements
on the commercial potential of the film, the problems of major distributors, the
dichotomy between white and black, the target audience, and the general effects
of the film.
Glen: Australian movies and the American dream New York: Praeger, 1987, p.166
briefly refers to Wrong Side Of The Road under the heading “The Fringe
Dwellers”, citing it as an example of “the crippling sense of rage more
common in the low-budget films about black life, which have often relied on the
viewpoint of young, male black rebels”.
Brian: Australian cinema 1970-1985 London,
Secker & Warburg, 1987, p.54
mentions the film in the context of discussion on Australian cinema as “A
man’s country”. He cites the
film as the only film that features Aboriginal characters that “really tries
to come to terms with the Aboriginal in contemporary Australia”.
Albert: “Black (and white)
images: Aborigines and film”
The Australian Screen Albert
Moran and Tom O’Reagan (eds) Ringwood:
Penguin, 1989, p.232
* Here, Moran argues against an
unpublished paper by Tim Rouse, where Rouse called the film a “gem”.
Moran says that the film doesn’t allow the viewer any access to
“alternate space”, forcing us to follow our central characters.
He also worries about the cinema verite style and how this may have
generated overly self-conscious performances.
David: The avocado plantation Sydney:
Pan MacMillan, 1990, p.207-208
calls Wrong Side Of The Road “perhaps the most authentic Aboriginal film of
the 80’s”, looking at the film in terms of Aboriginal voice and its social
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
film makes its point” Sunday
Telegraph 1/11/81, p.111
focuses on the film’s music, in an extremely problematic way.
It says that the two featured bands are “copying English whites,
copying American whites, copying American negroes”.
view across the rift” Canberra
review which admits its problem with objectivity, and goes on to “suspect
bias” in the film on the side of the Aboriginals – a suspicion of dubious
worth given the subject matter. Makes
a couple good observations, but seems to lack confidence.
Film Notes: Wrong Side of the Road.
much a description of the film as a review.
Explains the events which drive the narrative, framing the film as a road
Film Promo: Wrong Side of the Road.
one-page glossy brief blurb for the film, presumably to aid international sale.
Derek: “Aboriginals as they
Sunday Press (Victoria) 9/9/84,
news article detailing “Aborigines Week” on Channel 0-28 (SBS), which
included the first TV screening of Wrong Side Of The Road. This cites it as an important film, and a triumph in eroding
stereotypical notions of contemporary Aboriginal identity.
Annie and Jeni Thornley: “’Wrong
Side of the Road’ reviewed: ‘Bloody
Captain Cook Bastards Coming Here’” Filmnews
October 1981, p.10,12.
* Probably the most in depth
review written on the film. As the
title quote might suggest, the film is placed in a historical context, as well
as the present day climate. It
makes some insightful comments regarding the universality of the message, the
relationship between past and present, and film form.
Geraldine: “A hard look at a tough life”
Sydney Morning Herald Date
well written film review. Makes
reference to a “chilling” “semi-documentary style” which helps make this
an observational film. She says
that the only poor scene is that which involves the truant officer, who is seen
as unrealistically rude and insensitive.
Miranda: “The original
Australians’ road movie” The Age (Weekender) 27/11/98.
good sized article on the film and its intentions, examining Lander’s position
as a white director of a black film, and his aim at showing all Aboriginal
society, and not just the injustices. This
looks at how it was made, with music played on location, and also gives brief
backgrounds on the two bands.
Morning Herald 2/11/81.
brief news article which gives the observation of State Minister for Aboriginal
Affairs, Frank Walter, who finds it
ironic that the film premiers at Bennelong Point, where “all the troubles of
the Aboriginals began 200 years ago”.
Keith: “On the right side of the
wronged” Herald 12/11/81, p.43
film review, which notes the depth of character generated by the film’s basis
which draws on the true life experiences of the band members.
SISO, Jessica: “Surviving in a
white man’s world” The Melbourne Times
On” supplement) 18/11/81
at the film’s structure, with its “loose” ending justified as necessary
given the social illustration the film attempts.
Praises the film for its subtleties and lack of pretension.
Holds the opinion that the events of the film are underplayed when
compared to the real racism Aboriginal people face, but notes that the film
would have been labeled “unreal histrionics” if reality was depicted.
“Wrong Side of the Road” Variety
film review which starts with the simplification that black=good and white=villan
in the film. He does go on to make
some good points, mainly regarding the historic usage of the Aboriginal as a
tool rather than a subject.
Christie: “Black Feller’s Blues
: No Fixed Address cop it sweet” Juke
first half of this feature article deals strictly with No Fixed Address, and
their crucial importance for black Australia; a well written examination of how
reggae music serves as a vehicle for their message.
Second half does look at the film, but focuses on the police persecution aspect,
and the racism a black band like No Fixed Address must face.
Billy: “Wrong Side Of The Road”
* A good review, looking more from a
music magazine perspective. Views
the film as an entirely positive experience, finding the film well made and the
John: “The tough track”
Sydney Morning Herald
article which praises the film for showing the culture of the modern urban
Aborigine, saying it picks up where Phil Noyce’s “Backroads” leaves off.
Neil: “Black view of life on the
review which praises the films objectivity and the “ring of truth” in the
characters, but criticizes the execution and the “inferior” and
“listless” music. Obviously
this is a subjective point, as I would hardly consider the music listless.
Cheryl: “’Wrong Side’ is on
the right track” West Australian 8/4/81
brief but supportive review, which refers to a “young fella lifestyle” of
“swearing, drinking and messing around”, but says this is no different to
the behavior of young white kids – except that blacks pay more heavily.
Kate: “Social studies make the
major circuit” The Age 5/11/81
looks at the films release, and its timing with the release of a festival of
female film (the connection being that they are both valuable cultural products
denied commercial release).
on the black side of life” Sunday
Mail (Brisbane) 30/5/82
basic, simply explaining what the film is about, and asking the reader to
imagine life with black skin.
film award win: for ‘Wrong Side of the Road’”
AIM No.25 September
news article which notes that the film won the Jury Prize at the AFI film
awards, that it was nominated for other awards, and that Us Mob performed live
at the awards.
Almos: “Wrong Side of the Road”
November-December 1981, p.503-505.
* As much a detailed essay on the film
as a review, this article goes into great detail not only on the significance of
the material and the ideology behind it, but also on the film’s construction
– the role of the camera, problems with actors playing themselves, and tension
generated between the documentary and narrative styles of the film.
Meaghan. “Wrong Side on right
track for Aboriginies” Financial Review (Sydney) 30/10/81,
good article on the film, which highlights the film’s importance in relation
to the representations of Aboriginies (comparing it to films such as Walkabout
and Gallipoli where they lack depth) and in relation to other road movies.
Catherine: “Facts of life in
black urban Australia” The National Times 15/11/81,
article celebrating the triumph the film achieves in eroding stereotypical
notions of Aboriginal identity. Features
quotes from Ned Lander and Graeme Isaac, who offer their take on the Aboriginal
plight, and the idea of “exemption”. The
article also responds to criticism that the racism is overblown, as well as
making the point that the film wasn’t simply a vehicle for the featured bands.
and rock” Darwin Times 26/10/81,
brief article on the film, giving Ned Lander’s view – that it doesn’t bludgeon people over the head until
they feel guilty. It’s a film
about roads, rock and racism – not just the latter.
Briefs” The Sun 10/11/81.
very brief mention of the release of the Wrong Side of the Road soundtrack LP.
Stone “Film Notes”
section. August 1981.
Film Notes section briefly notes that the film is being blown up to 35mm.
Also mentions that it has been nominated for the 1981 AFI awards, and has
a general release scheduled for October 1981.
Caroline: “’Wrong Side’ looks
at the real here and now” The Sun 30/11/81, p.48
downplays the film’s racial messages, focusing on the “good turn” done for
Aboriginal music, and the Aboriginal Music College. Also looks at Lander’s priorities with the film’s themes.
Vincent: “NFA battles to beat the
discords” News (Adelaide) 19/11/81
brief synopsis of the film, accompanied by the observations of Les Graham, the
lead guitarist of No Fixed Address. Graham
explains the aims of his band.
Margaret: “Oz film finds a racial
pioneer” The Weekend Australian Magazine
an article on director Ned Lander than on the film. It looks at the reasoning behind the film, the pre-production
process, and how Lander felt about making it.
Smith also talks about the different reactions it received, with white
people not knowing “whether it’s cool to laugh in places”.
jury to judge movie” Sydney
brief news piece explaining that student reaction to the film will determine
whether or not it is shown in State schools.
Problems apparently arose when the NEW Police Association protested its
showing at Walgett High School.
“Aboriginals in today’s Australia” Sydney
Daily Telegraph 30/10/81.
on the day of release in Sydney, this article explains the themes and issues
behind the film, while briefly surmising the plot. It touches on the way that the film may be received by white
Australians, and notes that while not dwelling on injustices, it does show
features of black society that are often missed.
Mark: “Wrong Side of the Road”
Vol.4 No.10 November
article written by one of the men who played a cop, and who is also a founding
member of Adelaide reggae band The Jumpers.
Explains the accuracy of events depicted in the film, and looks at the
music’s place in the struggle for freedom from oppression.
Lee: “Wrong side of the road”
October 26, 1981.
positive review, but not the most well written. Refers to the film as “propaganda”, and praises the film
for showing the whites “to be as much victims of their own society”.
Concentrates on the good characterisation in the film rather than on the
seriousness of the message.
Evan: “Black faces from the wrong
side of the road” The Australian
review of mixed feelings; critical of the film’s craft, but admiring of the
film’s gritty realism. Looks at
the projected version of urban Aboriginal culture, and the differences between
this version and the culture of old.
from the other side of our rock road” Sun
Herald (Sydney) 1/11/81
pretty simplistic review which compares the film to “Deep South” and “Easy
Rider”, where the heroes travel through hostile hicktowns – the review says
that in this film the redneck yokels are “us”.
side of the road” Advertiser 21/11/81
short and average review.
Side of the Road” Filmnews
October 1981, p.8-9,12.
essential indepth interview with co-producer/director Ned Lander, co-producer
Graeme Isaac, Veronica Brodie and Lelia Rankine. Deals with the film’s production, the issue of racial bias,
the perceived lack of closure, the episodic nature of the narrative, the roles
of women, the issue of a white
filmmaker working on a black film, working with inexperience actors, the editing
process, distribution, the aims of the film, and the response in the media.
Garry: “Wrong Side Of The Road”
soundtrack album review, which praises the film as well as the album.
Holds a positive view of the strong stances the film takes, and the
strength of the political messages delivered.
FIXED ADDRESS & US MOB
Wrong Side Of The Road
Black Australia Records. Distributed
and manufactured by EMI Records. 1981.
Tracklist: Side A: – We Have
Survived – Get A Grip – The Vision – Black Man’s Rights – Greenhouse
Holiday – The Vision Version. Side
B:- Genocide – Wrong Side Of The Road – Suicidal Contemporaries – Sunshine
– Tough Living – Survive.