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Gold Stone and Red Dog

Pat F.

These two Australian films have received favourable reviews and have been viewed by many Australians. They are also, in my view, cheap, nasty, anti-working class propaganda. 

They propagate the view that workers in Australia are ignorant brutes who need to be controlled by police unhindered by the laws intended to moderate police behaviour. This is what Dimitrov called “fascism”.

The films are each set in mining camps in desert regions of Australia. The FIFO workers live in tiny dongas in hot, dry, dusty and dangerous working conditions. There are no families, no pets, no water, no grass, no community. There is nothing beautiful, nothing uplifting, nothing but working for bosses who are exploiting the workers’ need to work.

In Red Dog, the red dog becomes the friend of everyone and the enemy of no one. Red Dog is everyone’s pet, but no one’s dog. He is the object of everyone’s emotional life, without saying a word. Red Dog doesn’t discriminate, he just listens: one of the most powerful communication skills.

In Goldstone, the workers are supplied by the management with FIFO prostitutes as their only alternative to work, alcohol and boredom. The Asian girls have been ‘trafficked’ into the camp with a Chinese ‘madam’, by a gang of workers, with the collaboration of ‘middle management’ and a corrupt local official. The Madam preaches to the girls a line of Confucian sufferance, acceptance and ‘bending with the wind’, when they want to escape.

The senior management and the owners of the mines are not present and not mentioned. It is as if they have been whitewashed out of the landscape. It is a great, gaping absence of the main makers, movers and shakers of the world being depicted. It is like a depiction of the world without the sun. It is an impressionist painting with the light, but not the light source. 

The mining industry, like most industry in Australia, is predominantly owned by US based multinational corporations. The US does not want Australians to know that Australia is owned and controlled by the US, for the benefit of US capitalists. That is why they want films made which depict Australians being exploited by Australians, not by the US. 

It is why the US favours writers like Louis De Bernieres, author of “Red Dog”, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (which viciously slanders the Greek Communist Party and its fight against the fascists), and many other books revealing a superficial understanding of countries in which he has holidayed for a few weeks. 

In ‘Red Dog’, who is it that wins the girl (and the dog)? It is the only Gringo in the film. (‘Gringo’ is the term used in Mexico for people from the USA whose arrogance and ignorance of US exploitation so infuriates Mexicans. Trump is a Gringo.)

It is the US imperialists, whose only interest in Australia is to profit from taking our natural resources, who subvert Aboriginal land rights, but in Goldstone this is depicted as the work of the locals. 

The resistance to the sell-out of Land Rights is led by the wonderful David Gulpilil’s character. Aaron Pederson, after ‘Mystery Road’, is again an Aboriginal detective, but is this time depicted as a heavy drinking, heavy smoking, inarticulate, friendless ‘cowboy’, rather like Shane in “Shane”. The final major scene of the film, in which the detective and the local cop find they have common ground after all, and shoot all the workers (bikie thugs) who oppose them, is like “The Gunfight at the OK Corral”.

In fact these films are each as bad as any cowboy movie: low budget, low cinematic qualities, continuity errors, long and pointless driving scenes, one dimensional characters (Jacki Weaver, David Wenham hang your heads in shame!), in-film advertising for Winchester rifles, tobacco, alcohol, long necks, transportable housing, Toyota, etc. 

And as in any cowboy film, the police are your friends who are there to protect you from the violence of the workers.

And if you believe that, they will always be in charge, in their marble palaces and granite banks from which they rule the people of the world. 

 

 

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