These subjective annotated bibliographical records are linked to the RMIT University Bonza database.  Bonza entries also exist for Ned Lander and Graeme Isaac.


BOOKS

BREEN, 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 tool.

D’ANGELO, 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 unsighted).

DERMODY, Susan & Elizabeth Jacka:  The Screening of  Australia  Vol.1  Sydney: Currency Press, 1987, p.188
* Mentions Wrong Side Of The Road as an example of “poor” cinema – low budget feature film.

DERMODY, 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. The film is also briefly looked at in relation to Noyce’s Backroads (1977) and Schepsi’s Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978).

HALL, 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 awkwardness”.

JENNINGS, Karen:  Sites of difference  AFI:  South Melbourne, 1993, p.17+23
*Jennings 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.

LANDER, 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.
A 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.

LEWIS, Glen:  Australian movies and the American dream  New York: Praeger, 1987, p.166
* Lewis 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”.

McFARLANE, Brian:  Australian cinema 1970-1985  London, Secker & Warburg, 1987, p.54
* McFarlane 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”.

MORAN, 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.

STRATTON, David:  The avocado plantation  Sydney: Pan MacMillan, 1990, p.207-208
* Stratton 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 criticism.

 

NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES  

“Aboriginal film makes its point”  Sunday Telegraph  1/11/81, p.111
* This 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”.

 “Aboriginal view across the rift”  Canberra Times  12/3/82.
* A 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.

AFI Film Notes:  Wrong Side of the Road.
* As much a description of the film as a review.  Explains the events which drive the narrative, framing the film as a road movie.

AFC Film Promo:  Wrong Side of the Road.
* A one-page glossy brief blurb for the film, presumably to aid international sale.

BALLANTINE, Derek:  “Aboriginals as they really are”  Sunday Press (Victoria)  9/9/84, p.25
* A 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.

BICKFORD, 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.

 BROOKS, Geraldine:  “A hard look at a tough life”  Sydney Morning Herald  Date Unknown.
* A 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.

BROWN, Miranda:  “The original Australians’ road movie”  The Age (Weekender)  27/11/98.
* A 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.

 “COLUMN 8”  Sydney Morning Herald  2/11/81.
* A 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”.

CONNOLLY, Keith:  “On the right side of the wronged”  Herald  12/11/81, p.43
* A 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.

DE SISO, Jessica:  “Surviving in a white man’s world”  The Melbourne Times  (“What’s On” supplement)  18/11/81
* Looks 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.

DOGO:  “Wrong Side of the Road”  Variety  18/11/81, p.19+22
* A 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.

ELIEZER, Christie:  “Black Feller’s Blues : No Fixed Address cop it sweet”  Juke  No.343  21/11/81, p.8-9
* The 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.  The 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.

GRANT, Billy:  “Wrong Side Of The Road”  RAM No.173   27/11/81.
* 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 music great.

HANRAHAN,  John:  “The tough track”  Sydney Morning Herald  12/12/81
* An 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.

JILLETT, Neil:  “Black view of life on the move”  The Age  13/11/81.
* A 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.

JOHNSON, Cheryl:  “’Wrong Side’ is on the right track”  West Australian  8/4/81
* A 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.

LEGGO, Kate:  “Social studies make the major circuit”  The Age  5/11/81
* This 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).

“Looking on the black side of life”  Sunday Mail  (Brisbane)  30/5/82
* Very basic, simply explaining what the film is about, and asking the reader to imagine life with black skin.

“Major film award win: for ‘Wrong Side of the Road’”  AIM  No.25  September 1981.
* An 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.

MAKSAY, Almos:  “Wrong Side of the Road”   Cinema Papers  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.

MORRIS, Meaghan.  “Wrong Side on right track for Aboriginies”  Financial Review (Sydney)  30/10/81, p.45
* A 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.

PEAKE, Catherine:  “Facts of life in black urban Australia”  The National Times  15/11/81, p.33
* An 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.

“Racism and rock”  Darwin Times  26/10/81, p.15
* A 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.

“Rock Briefs”  The Sun  10/11/81.
* A very brief mention of the release of the Wrong Side of the Road soundtrack LP.

Rolling Stone “Film Notes” section.   August 1981.
* The 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.

ROSS, Caroline:  “’Wrong Side’ looks at the real here and now”  The Sun  30/11/81, p.48
* This 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.

ROSS, Vincent:  “NFA battles to beat the discords”  News (Adelaide)  19/11/81
* A 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.

SMITH, Margaret:  “Oz film finds a racial pioneer”  The Weekend Australian Magazine  21/11/81, p20
* More 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”.

“Student jury to judge movie”  Sydney Telegraph  12/8/82
* A 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.

SULLIVAN, Walter: “Aboriginals in today’s Australia”  Sydney Daily Telegraph  30/10/81.
* Written 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.

THOMPSON, Mark:  “Wrong Side of the Road”  Roadrunner   Vol.4  No.10  November 1981.
* An 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.

TULLOCH, Lee:  “Wrong side of the road”  Vouge Australia  October 26, 1981.
* A 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.

WILLIAMS, Evan:  “Black faces from the wrong side of the road”  The Australian  3/11/81, p.8
* A 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.

“View from the other side of our rock road”  Sun Herald (Sydney)  1/11/81
* A 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”.

“Wrong side of the road”  Advertiser  21/11/81
* A short and average review.

“Wrong Side of the Road”  Filmnews  October 1981, p.8-9,12.
* An 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.

 ZANCANARO, Garry:  “Wrong Side Of The Road”  RAM  8/1/82, p.77
* A 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.

 

AUDIO

NO FIXED ADDRESS & US MOB  Wrong Side Of The Road
(Original Soundtrack Album)
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.