Imogen Thomas, Rhae-Kye Waites, Sydney Film Festival

Imogen Thomas, Rhae-Kye Waites

Sydney Film Review: ‘Emu Runner’

Sydney Film Review: ‘Emu Runner’

16.6.2019

Sydney Film Review: ‘Emu Runner’

Writer-director Imogen Thomas ’ debut feature “Emu Runner” has and probably will play in designated family-themed strands of film festivals, and given its story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal girl who d…

, who gives a remarkable performance of unmannered social realism) lives with her parents Jay Jay (Wayne Blair, director of “The Sapphires” and the recent Sundance selection “Top End Wedding”), who hauls trash for a living, and Darlene (Maurial Spearim), as well as older brother Ecka (Rodney McHughes) and middle sister Val (Letisha Boney).

Shortly after her mother tells her the emu is “our animal, that’s what connects us to this land, our people,” she dies whilst on a bushwalk with her daughters. Jay Jay is a caring and committed father, and with the help of equally dedicated relatives he resolves to keep the family together.

So, too, the magisterial vastness of the plains surrounding the town is captured to sobering yet beautiful effect by cameraman Michael Gibbs. Most of the emu footage was shot at a farm some four hours away, with Gibbs, editors Jenny Hicks and Nicole Norelli, and Thomas — who is also one of four “emu wranglers” listed in the credits — seamlessly blending the footage into a moving whole.

Reviewed online, June 13, 2019 (In Sydney Film Festival — Family Films). Running time: 95 MIN.

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