Australia, 1955


As Australia’s first feature film with Aboriginal lead roles, Jedda is beloved by many First Peoples. It was one of the first times we saw stories of our people explored and it’s lauded for its representation of “so many Aboriginal men and women, girls and boys on the screen.” But despite being a first for First Peoples representation, Jedda also reflects a deeply problematic time in Australian history characterised by formal policies of assimilation and the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families by the government.
The tale of an Aboriginal woman torn between her white upbringing and her heritage, Jedda (Charles Chauvel’s last feature film) is the first Australian-made colour feature and first Australian film nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or. It stars Arrernte actress Rosalie Kunoth-Monks (credited as Ngarla Kunoth) as Jedda and Tiwi actor Robert Tudawali as Marbuck. Due to the film’s popularity, and a rising interest in Aboriginal ‘kitsch’ and culture, Kunoth-Monks and Jedda became entwined. But unlike Tudawali, who had other roles, Kunoth-Monks never acted again and became an advocate for Australia’s First Peoples. Cast also includes Betty Suttor, Paul Reynall, George Simpson-Lytle, Tas Fitzer, Wason Byers, Willie Farrar, and Margaret Dingle

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Previously on display

22 April 2019

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Charles Chauvel

production company

Charles Chauvel Productions



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