The Australian Dream
Recipient of ten awards, including the 2019 Walkley Documentary Award, Stan Grant’s The Australian Dream, directed by Daniel Gordon, is a compelling, inspiring work about Aussie football star Adam Goodes and his battle against racism.
With superb filmmaking, directing and cinematography, this breathtakingly poignant and powerful piece examines the long-overlooked fact of indigenous displacement by white settlers in Australia two centuries ago. The original inhabitants of the continent for 60,000 years, the Aborigines were treated as subhuman, their children removed from them to be “civilised” – later to marry whites as a way of integrating them.
The narrative centres around Goodes’s 2014 Australia Day confrontation with his country’s Caucasian culture while using his voice as winner of the Australian of the Year Award to denounce racism – “today is a day of sorrow, of hurt” – and the repercussions thereof. When a thirteen-year old girl calls him an ape, Goodes has her removed from the stands. His first incidence of racial abuse in eight years, it brings him to tears. Yet he offers sympathy and reconciliation to the child. Continuous booing and abuse by stadium crowds – exacerbated after Goodes’s defiant Aboriginal war dance on the field – lead to his leaving the game he loves so much.
It takes a heart-wrenching speech by the film’s author, journalist Stan Grant (like Goodes, half Aboriginal) – decrying the treatment of the football great and the prejudices no one wants to face: “I have succeeded despite the Australian Dream, not because of it” – to wake up the silent population of non-racist whites, who then rally in support of Goodes.
Comments by other indigenous footballers illustrate their deep pain in a nation where the Australian Dream does not include them, and Australia Day means “Invasion Day”. About Goodes: “He had committed the great sin, the black man who complains”.
Winner of multiple awards and honours, Goodes is clearly a sensitive, intelligent, decent, courageous, highly gifted man who was bullied by bigoted thugs because he spoke up about discrimination and how hurtful it is for the indigenous community. The Australian Dream highlights that racism continues because of denial about it by the dominant population and silent inaction by those who are not overtly racist. An exceptional, significant, emotionally gripping documentary, it is manifestly rooted in love – love for country and for the Aboriginal culture that defines its history.
The Australian Dream is released digitally on demand on 12th June 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Australian Dream here: